The main purpose of agricultural production is to efficiently grow food so we can lead healthy, productive and prosperous lives. Historically, plant breeding's main goal has been increasing yield. However, in the last decades questions have been raised about how much interest should be placed on the importance of food factors associated with human health that are commonly found in deficient levels among populations. In this symposium, we discuss the recent advances of plant breeding for human nutrition and their implications for consumers.
Dr. Richard Sayre is the Director of the Biofuels project at the New Mexico Consortium working in conjunction with Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Sayre received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and did post-doctoral work at Harvard University. Dr. Sayre is a former member of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center where he served as the Director of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels. From 2005-2010, he was Director of the BioCassava Plus Program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and from 2009-2011, was the Director of the Center for Advanced Biofuel Systems a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center. In relation to biofortification, his group currently focuses on increasing bio-available levels of iron in cassava, reducing cyanogen toxicity, increasing root protein content, reducing root post-harvest physiological deterioration, and developing root-specific promoters for transgene expression in cassava. Additional research programs focus on starch metabolism and biofuel production from cassava.