Biomedical agriculture (BMA) is a transdisciplinary approach and emerging field that engages agronomists and biomedical scientists in a program of discovery, dissemination, and training. The ultimate goal of BMA is to identify specific genotypes of a food crop which, alone and when combined with other food crops, form a dietary pattern that reduces chronic disease risk, that is, risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and obesity. To achieve this goal, a systematic approach is required that investigates staple and specialty crop genotypes for bioactivity that translates into improved chronic disease biomarkers, alterations of which are associated with reduced disease risk. The primary mechanisms targeted for food-mediated disease risk reduction are altered glucose metabolism, chronic inflammation, excessive cellular oxidation, and/or chronic endotoxemia. The crop improvement process via BMA is tiered, establishing efficacy for chronic disease prevention in molecular, cellular, and animal investigations of crop genotypes and food combinations before evaluation in cohorts of human participants. Ultimately, specific dietary plans will be tailored for individuals at risk for one or more chronic diseases. Informatics and omics technologies enable transdisciplinary collaborations, giving the agricultural and biomedical sciences a common research setting that sustains and translates progress into the community.
Advances in Agronomy (2009) 102: 1-54 [doi: 10.1016/S0065-2113(09)01001-3]