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Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee

Subcommittee - Healthy, Well-nourished Population

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These are the minutes of current activities of the subcommittee on a Healthy, Well-nourished Population of the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee. It is part of the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee.

  • Minutes of telephone conference number 3 on October 24, 2007 (minutes by Michael J. Havey)
    • Members Present
      • Linda Pollak, Greg Tolla, Pat Byrne, Phil Simon, and Mike Havey
    • Discussion centered on identifying partners and speakers for PBCC Meeting in June 2008:
      • A partner and potential speaker could be someone presently working with a plant breeder. Suggestions included:
        • Howard Boas (spelling?): Leads “Harvest Plus”, a Gates funded group enhancing staple crops for micronutrients.
        • Someone from Johns Hopkins working on health-enhancing compounds in the Brassicas.
        • Joanne Holdens: Composes Plant Composition Tables for the USDA.
        • Pamela White: ISU Food Science and works with oat and corn breeders.
        • John Milner: Chief of Nutrition Science Research at the National Cancer Institute.
      • Other speakers for plenary session at PBCC could be Walt Fehr, Arnel Hallauer, Ken Frey, Jules Janick, or M. Inawaga (CIMMYT Director General).
    • Discussion on our committee’s white paper:
      • Some text could be extracted from review article being written by L. Pollack and P. Simon. However, this will concentrate on past accomplishments. 
      • We may want to ask for input from medical and food science researchers
      • We could build scenarios of challenges to a healthy population and illustrate successes with plant breeders versus meeting challenges without plant breeding input. Examples of challenges include:
        • Trans-fats
        • Obesity
        • Cancer
        • Cardiovascular problems
    • Next conference call will be scheduled in November.
  • Minutes of telephone conference number 2 on August 14, 2007
    • Members Present
      • Linda Pollak, Phil Simon, Michael Havey, Pat Byrne, and Jay Romsa
    • Opportunities and Updates
      • Linda announced that our proposal for a 2008 AAAS symposium has been accepted and will be "Crops for Health: Improving the Health Promoting Properties of Food". The symposium will be organized by Linda Pollak, Phil Simon, and Pat Byrne.
    • Identification of partners who we may want to invite to the next meeting in Ankeny IA in June 2008:
      • We should probably start small and invite a limited number of partners to our subcommittee meeting in Ankeny. Potential invitees could be speakers at the AAAS symposium or local people. The lack of funding to support attendance by partners will be problematic. We need to discuss at the PBCC group the possibility of reduced/no registration fee for partners. Maybe they could attend only second day of the meeting?
      • We should also consider attending the meetings of partners to present the goals of our subcommittee.
    • Activities:
      • Concept paper: A short executive summary of the white paper.
      • White paper: A review paper on breeding for healthy foods is being written for Plant Breeding Reviews by Linda Pollak, Phil Simon, and Bev Clevidance. This review could serve as an outline for our white paper. The white paper should focus on success stories, our ideas for the future, and our partners.
      • Letters of introduction: This should be postponed until we have the white paper in hand.
    • Communication:
      • Website: Should carry minutes from meetings and conference calls, information on members of our subcommittee and partners, and possibly grant opportunities and citations. Havey will work with Todd Wehner to prepare a template for CVs for members of our subcommittee.
      • New members: We may attract new members through our website or by direct contacts using mailing lists from the Crop Science or Horticultural societies. Linda will check with CSSA and Mike and Phil with ASHS. But we do not want to compete with members for the other subcommittees so we should discuss this first with the PBCC group.
    • What do we want to accomplish at the next meeting in Ankeny IA?
      • Discuss establishment of partner relationships.
    • Updates:
      • Henry Thompson will present a plenary lecture on Crops and Human Health at the ASA meeting in October 2008 in New Orleans. There will also be a symposium at the ASA meeting on Breeding for healthier crops.
    • Keeping in touch
      • Our next conference call will be 10:30-11:30 am Central Time on October 23.
  • Minutes of telephone conference number 1 on June 12, 2007
    • Members Present
      • Pat Byrne, Linda Pollak, Jay Romsa, Phil Simon, Greg Tolla
    • Opportunities and Updates
      • Pat explained that a Ph.D. level USDA National Needs Fellowship in “Crops for Health” is available at Colorado State University (restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents). Please inform all interested candidates because qualified candidates have been difficult to find.
      • Linda is a member of a organizing committee for yearly symposia on Advanced Food for Health put on by ISU’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center. The 2007 symposium was on Resistant/Slowly Digestible Starch (see for a copy of the 2007 booklet and information about the 2008 symposium) and 2008’s will be on Gut Health. Although few plant breeders were present at the symposium, attendees from industry clearly showed appreciation for our contributions when concluding that resistant starch’s health benefit to the population will be maximized when it is produced in the field.
      • Phil attended the USDA-ARS NP107 (Human Nutrition) long-range planning meeting. There was discussion of the need and protocol to include ranges of nutrient compositions in USDA databases to account for nutrient differences in varieties and environments. Phil emphasized that there are many opportunities for plant breeders to work with these nutritionists.
      • Pat mentioned that a multi-institution satellite course on Crops for Health will be given that has received excellent reviews in the past. He will pass on more information.
      • Jay stressed that nutritional data should be in GRIN. Relevant NPGS people should be informed of this need.
    • Review Action Plan for Next Activities
      • The two primary action needs are a) review article/white paper and b) building partnerships.
        • Phil and Linda are writing a scientific review article. From this article, a white paper for a broader audience can be gleaned. The authors of the white paper should include a nutritionist or health professional. A white paper can be very useful to inform industry of what/where potential products are available.
        • Building partnerships on a personal basis is now the best way to achieve this need. Building partnerships on a subcommittee level will be put off for a year or two until the white paper is circulated.
    • White papers - PBCC’s and our subcommittee’s
      • There was discussion of how/where to circulate a white paper. We will work under PPCC’s lead. In the meantime, our members need to start attending meetings at which we can network with food, nutrition, and health professionals. Jay will attend the AACC meeting this fall and present a poster about our subcommittee.
    • Items for PPCC
      • Members participating in PPCC’s conference call will note and initiate (if needed) discussion of where white papers will be circulated. Our subcommittee would also like to post relevant information on a website under PPCC’s and will inquire about the website plans.
    • Keeping in touch
      • A website under the PBCC would be a good means for sharing common information.
      • We will hold conference calls every two months. The next will be 10:30-11:30 am Central Time on August 14.


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Page citation: Wehner, T.C. Global Plant Breeding, 30 March 2005;
design by C.T. Glenn; send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 30 September, 2009