Lentil Selection to Reduce Dietary Intake of Arsenic
CSANR Project 099
This proposal addresses the BIOAg priority area: Breeding, varietal selection, management practices, processing, or marketing practices to increase food quality, nutrition, safety, or access.
Arsenic contaminates soil and water in many areas around the world. Fruit growing areas of Washington are contaminated from lead arsenate use as an insecticide. Other regions have natural deposits or human-exacerbated exposure. The worst known problem is in Bangladesh, where arsenic was recently estimated to cause fully 1 in 5 deaths. Humans are consuming dangerous amounts of arsenic both by drinking contaminated water, and by eating crops that have accumulated arsenic from contaminated irrigation water. Lentils are a principle source of protein in the human diet and are known to accumulate arsenic.
We propose that the problem of crop contamination with arsenic could be minimized by breeding crops that accumulate less bioavailable arsenic in harvested tissues (in this case, the lentil grain. WSU is home to the largest global library of lentil accessions, which will be screened using both genotype and phenotype assessments. This method is suitable for organic production.