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Project: A key role of bio-analysis in guiding thiamine biofortification and thiamine biomonitoring 'in the field'.

2017-01-01 – 2020-12-31


Thiamine plays an essential role in energy metabolism. Humans have to rely on their diet for its
supply. Thiamine deficiency mainly affects developing countries, primarily as a result of the lack of
a varied diet, where some may largely depend on e.g. rice, which is low in thiamine content, for
their energy supply. Knowledge on the prevalence of this deficit in developing countries is limited
due the difficulty of blood collection and transport in remote regions. A more efficient strategy
may be to implement the collection of blood, obtained by a finger prick, on filter paper, followed
by drying, to generate dried blood spots (DBS). We will develop a fully validated method to
determine the thiamine status in these DBS. This should permit the set-up of an epidemiological
study in remote regions. A cost-effective strategy to prevent thiamine deficiency may lie in the
biofortification of rice. This can be done by genetic engineering, utilizing genes involved in
thiamine biosynthesis. However, the success of the biofortification strategy, which is performed by
a collaborating laboratory, needs trustworthy bio-analytical assessment. We will therefore develop
a fully validated method to determine how much thiamine and its intermediates are present in the
modified rice, in order to select the most promising rice lines. The DBS method mentioned above
will also be used to assess whether in rats, which are fed thiamine biofortified rice, higher
thiamine levels in blood are attained.

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