DuPont has been honored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency of the Department of Commerce, for its research efforts to improve nutrition, production and availability of sorghum, a staple crop in Africa. The USPTO Patents for Humanity is an awards competition to recognize patented technologies that address humanitarian needs.
The award affirms DuPont’s commitments to the importance of collaboration and innovation in science, the importance of seeking food security solutions for a growing world population, and the role of patents and intellectual property in encouraging continued investment in science-based research.
“This award recognizes the importance of collaboration across the public and private sectors to bring real solutions to the people and places that need it most,” said DuPont Pioneer President Paul Schickler. “Science must be at the heart of solutions to feeding a growing population.”
In Africa, each year up to half a million children become blind from vitamin A deficiencies and nearly 600,000 women die from childbirth-related causes, many from complications that could be reduced through better provision of vitamin A, iron or zinc. Nearly 300 million people in Africa depend on sorghum as a staple crop, but do not have access to another staple that provides the essential nutrients that sorghum lacks.
DuPont established collaborations with a number of organizations, including Africa Harvest Foundation International, the primary coordinating organization for the Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) initiative, to increase the amount and stability of pro-vitamin A, iron and zinc, and improve protein digestibility of sorghum. In the next several years, the ABS initiative is expected to benefit millions of Africans that rely upon sorghum, which traditionally is deficient in key nutrients.
Pictured: DuPont Scientist Marc Albertsen, ABS Research Lead. Award presented by Teresa Stanek Rea, Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director, USPTO.