A Novel Nutritional Intervention to Combat Osteoporosis

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R41AR052225-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: AR052225
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Edenspace Systems Corporation
15100 Enterprise Court, Suite 100, Chantilly, VA, 20151
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (703) 961-8700
Business Contact
Phone: (703) 961-8700
Research Institution
3578 TAMU
 Nonprofit college or university
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Low levels of nutrients such as calcium contribute to osteoporosis and other significant health problems for millions of people worldwide. For many consumers, current methods of increasing dietary nutrients are inconvenient, costly, or unpalatable. This STTR Phase I project proposes to develop a novel method of increasing levels of one or more nutrients in vegetables that already comprise a significant part of the average U.S. diet, by combining the use of genetically enhanced plants with low-cost foliar and hydroponic amendments. For example, recent research with calcium transporter CAX genes has demonstrated a doubling of calcium uptake in transgenic carrots. Separately, use of foliar amendments has quadrupled the calcium content of nontransgenic lettuce, and also increased potassium content, without harming plant appearance or growth. Combining these lines of research, this Phase I project will seek to achieve proof-of concept by demonstrating that foliar amendments can further increase calcium and potassium uptake in existing strains of transgenic carrot. The project also will begin genetic transformation of a popular variety of fresh lettuce to express the CAXgene for testing in Phase II. To better understand mechanisms of calcium and potassium storage (e.g., apoplastic or vacuolar) in the plants, a scanning electron microscope will be used to compare tissue-specific and intracellular storage locations. Successful completion of the project should result in techniques for growing two vegetables, carrot and lettuce, with greatly enhanced calcium and potassium values. More broadly, the project may provide the foundation for cost-effective, grower based methods of increasing a wide range of nutrients in food staples. Significantly, the approach offers the exciting possibility of simultaneously enhancing levels of multiple nutrients in single fresh vegetables.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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