Carotenoids in Cassava Roots

Vitamin A deficiency affects millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. A large proportion of them rely on diets based on cassava


Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a preventable tragedy that affects millions of people, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. A large proportion of these people rely on diets based on cassava as a source of calories. During the last 2 decades, significant efforts have been made to identify sources of germplasm with high pro-vitamin A carotenoids (pVAC) and then use them to develop cultivars with a nutritional goal of 15 μg g−1 of β-carotene (fresh weight basis) and good agronomic performance.

The protocols for sampling roots and quantifying carotenoids have been improved. Recently, near infrared (NIR)predictions began to be used. Retention of carotenoids after different root processing methods has been measured. Bioavailability studies suggest high conversion rates. Genetic modification has also been achieved with mixed results. Carotenogenesis genes have been characterized and their activity in roots measured.

This work is an output of the HarvestPlus Programme. The Department for International Development is one of the main donors for HarvestPlus.


Ceballos, Hernan, Fabrice Davrieux, Elise F. Talsma, John Belalcazar, Paul Chavarriaga, and Meike S. Andersson. 2017. “Carotenoids in Cassava Roots.” In Carotenoids, edited by Dragan J. Cvetkovic and Goran S. Nikolic, 189-221. InTech.

Carotenoids in Cassava Roots

Published 14 June 2017