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Wednesday, 16 January 2008 20:39

Bugs Bunny now eats Super Carrots

A new genetically-engineered carrot has been developed by Baylor College and Texas A&M researchers that help eaters absorb much more calcium than a normal carrot.    

Bugs asked the question: “What’s up Doc?” and Dr. Jay Morris responded.

Lead researcher in the study, Jay Morris, of the Baylor College of Medicine, has modified the simply carrot and made it so that it enables people to absorb, on average, 41% more calcium than what you would absorb if eating a regularly grown carrot.

The researchers in the study were from the Texas A&M’s AgriLife’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center (College Station) and the Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas).

They had their thirty subjects (15 men and 15 women of an age range from 21 to 30 years) eat regular carrots for one week. Urine samples were taken to determine the amount of calcium absorbed by the body. Then, the subjects ate super-carrots for two weeks. Additional urine samples were taken and compared with the first ones.

The super-carrots (officially called cSAX1) weighed 100 grams, while containing 60 milligrams of calcium. Regular carrots contain about 30 milligrams of calcium—about half that of the new modified carrot.

The researchers found the following results: The male subjects absorbed 38.7% more calcium when eating super-carrots over regular carrots, while the female subjects absorbed even more—45.9% more calcium.

Actually, people only absorbed 42% of the calcium in the modified carrot, as compared to 52% of the calcium in the regular carrot. However, since the modified carrot contains twice as much calcium as the regular carrot, the absorption percentage became 41% more for the super-carrot over the regular carrot.

Morris states that the procedures used to produce the super-duper carrot could be applied to a wide range of fruits and vegetables—enabling people to enhance their health and nutrition and in the long run better protect themselves from such problems as osteoporosis.

The team also contends that the calcium-fortified carrot can be used to improve the productivity of the carrot plant and to even extend the grocery shelf-life of the orange vegetable.

The Morris team published their results in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their next step is to conduct safety tests of their modified carrot.

Bug Bunny has claimed that since eating the carrots, he has stronger bones and can dodge attacks better from Elmer Fudd.

However, the modified carrot is not without its critics. Opponents to the genetically-engineered carrot voice that the science behind the technology is not proven and the health benefits versus the risks are not confirmed.

Genetically modified fruits and vegetables are a normal part of everyone’s diet. Carrots were originally purplish in color until Dutch farmers modified their color to orange in the seventeen century. Potatoes have been modified for years to contain more starch and less water. Other foods have been modified in the past and, no doubt, will be in the future.

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