Food and human nutrition
The principle goal of agriculture is to sustain human life and human health. Linking clinical health research to agricultural research is a relatively new concept. In the 20th Century, the key goal for agricultural research was to produce sufficient energy and protein to sustain a rapidly growing human population. In the 21st Century, this challenge remains as the global population heads towards nine billion people.
However, the focus of research today is expanding to understand the influence of food quality on human well being and health. There is a growing realisation that the form of energy in food can have different health outcomes - with some fats and carbohydrates leading to disease and others forming a protection against such disease. Some micronutrients are understood to be essential for human health, while some compounds found naturally in everyday foods can cause allergic reactions in some members of the population.
Waite researchers are working together to link human nutrition and health to agricultural research. Our researchers are examining the properties of products derived from grains and working directly with plant breeders to develop products for food manufacturers. Our researchers are also involved in collaborative projects to develop healthy meats and in particular looking at the role of fatty acids in human nutrition and ways to increase the essential fatty acid content of particular foods.