|Food and Nutrition Bulletin Volume 18, Number 1, 1997 (UNU, 1997, 106 pages)|
Breeding for staple food crops with high micronutrient density (Agricultural Strategies for Micronutrients Working Paper 3). Robin D. Graham and Ross M. Welch. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C., 1996. 79 pages, paperback.
Intervention programmes, including supplementation, fortification, and education, have been successful in reducing macronutrient malnutrition in specific situations and will be needed in the future, but for most micronutrients such programmes are a continuing expense vulnerable to economic, political, and logistical interruptions. This paper argues that breeding seeds that are dense in trace minerals can improve plant nutrition, reduce input costs, and improve yields and profits on soils deficient in trace minerals. New and more efficient genotypes are able to access micronutrient pools considered unavailable for plant uptake. The crops addressed are wheat, rice, and maize, which represent 54% of global food production and over half of the caloric intake of the poor. Thus, increasing the density of trace minerals in staple foods and improving their bioavailability could be of significant benefit to developing country populations. This working paper discusses the status of current knowledge and technologies to achieve this goal.
Food chemistry. Third edition. Edited by Own R. Fennema. Marcel Dekker, New York, 1996. (ISBN 0-8427-9691-8) 1088 pages, hardcover. US$185.00. (ISBN 0-8247-9691-8) 1988 pages, paperback. US$55.00.
This is the third edition of an outstanding food chemistry textbook for food science students who have a background in organic chemistry. The first edition was published 20 years ago; this edition is more than 60% new. Water, carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, colourants, flavours, additives, and toxic substances are dealt with in separate chapters, as are the characteristics of milk, edible muscle tissues, and edible plant tissues. It should be available in the library of developing country institutions teaching food science and food chemistry.
Geriatric nutrition: A comprehensive review. Second edition. John E. Morley, Zvi Glic, and Laurence Z. Rubenstein. Raven Press, New York, 1995. (ISBN 0-7817-0169-4) 397 pages. US$98.00.
In the United States alone there have been at least five books on geriatric nutrition published in the last five years. All of them are acceptable, although they are somewhat variable in coverage. This book is knowledgeably written and covers the topics in concise detail. The first six chapters cover general topics (theories, energy balance, nutritional requirements, nutritional assessment, and nutrition in preventing age-associated diseases). They are followed by 19 chapters on specific nutritional deficiencies, 13 chapters on nutrition and the malfunction of various systems, and 10 on such special topics as enteral feeding, nutrition in nursing homes, exercise, food-drug interactions, pressure ulcers, misinformation, and fraud. They are written in concise detail, with recent references, and an index is provided. This is the most complete and recent treatment of the subject. However, the research information presented is often too preliminary or unconfirmed to be suitable for clinical or public health decisions.
The information revolution: Impact on science and technology. Edited by J.-E. Dubois and N. Gershon. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 1996. (ISBN 3-540-60855-9) 273 pages, hardcover.
This book is part of a CODATA series entitled "Data and Knowledge in a Changing World." It has two major sections: "Emergence of an Information Society - Facts and Challenges," with 17 papers, and "Worldwide and Regional Information Systems, Policies and Programmes," with 16 papers. Aside from a few papers that provide information on specific applications well outside the food and nutrition area, this book's content is highly relevant to the area of food composition data systems. Some of the issues presented in depth are among those only insufficiently addressed in nutrition to date, including policies on access to data and information, legal and economic aspects of data production and transfer, and critical factors for the use of public databases. The case studies presented, although not directly relevant, can serve as models as these issues come into more prominence in nutrition research. Particularly enjoyable was the chapter on information highways. The first paper in this chapter describes solutions for "handling, querying, browsing, accessing, and retrieving data and information from large distributed repositories of complex data and information." A prototype is constructed that integrates the capabilities of statistical analysis, visualization, graphic user interface, a storage system, and a database management system, which is what we strive for with our food composition data systems. Another prototype takes this a step further, with relevant information in n dimensions aggregated and visualized, enabling the user to modify interactively the otherwise rigid structure of linking pieces of information and view the information space and its relationships visually.
One of the aims of this series, and indeed of CODATA itself, is to intensify international cooperation in standardization, data quality agreements, and conceptual data descriptions. These are among the most important aims of UNU/INFOODS and the entire international food composition community. CODATA Chairman of the Publication Advisory Board, E. Fluck, is not predicting the content of future books in the series. He says to do this would be paradoxical, as the "essence [of this series] is to proceed at such pace as to outstrip the very information highways it is building." Perhaps food composition data systems could be a worthwhile focus of attention for future contributions to this series on data and knowledge in a changing world.
Nutritional needs in cold and in high-altitude environments. Bernadette M. Marriott and Sydney J. Carlson. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1996. (ISBN 0-309-05484-2) 568 pages, paperback. US$39.00.
This report is based on a workshop sponsored by the Committee on Military Nutrition/Research of the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences of the United States. While its initial 4 chapters are specific to military operations, the remaining 15 chapters are equally applicable to civilian populations living in cold and high-altitude environments. They deal with the physiology and nutritional demands of these conditions, as well as cognition and performance, and they have an extensive but selective bibliography.
Present knowledge in nutrition. Seventh edition. Edited by Ekhard E. Ziegler and L. J. Filer, Jr. ILSI Press, Washington, D.C., 1996. (ISBN 0-944398-723) 684 pages, paperback. US$50.00.
This book was first published in 1953 and was immediately recognized as an authoritative summary that was particularly useful in developing countries. Some subsequent revisions have been translated into a number of languages and their distribution has been subsidized. They have become standard reference works in classrooms, laboratories, clinics, and institutes around the world. As the field of nutrition has expanded dramatically, the size and scope of the editions has steadily increased. This latest edition requires 64 chapters, all written by recognized experts, and 684 large pages to cover the field of nutrition today. The chapters cover concisely, but very comprehensively and with selected references, all of the known nutrients, the nutrition-related diseases, nutritional issues for each age and physiological state, toxic substances and adverse reactions to foods, inborn errors of metabolism and nutrient standards, dietary guidelines and food guides, and so forth. It also has a useful general index. It covers essential biochemical, clinical, and public health information as relevant to each topic. This volume is a "best buy" for any individual or institution needing an up-to-date, comprehensive, and authoritative nutrition text and reference.
Quality and accessibility of food-related data. Edited by Heather Greenfield. AOAC International, Arlington, Va., USA, 1995 (ISBN 0-935584-56-0) 311 pages. US$68.00 in North America; US$74.00 elsewhere.
This book represents a pivotal accomplishment in the area of food composition research, for two important reasons. First, this book marks the ratification of food composition research as an important research area in the nutrition world, as a recording of the scientific presentations of the First International Food Data Base Conference, an official satellite to the 15th IUNS International Congress of Nutrition (1993). Second, it presents under a single cover some of the best original science and relevant reviews in the area that have ever been produced.
The topic areas include reviews of national and international food composition programmes, and applications for food composition activities in population studies, food labelling, new product development, and food safety. New methodological advances are presented, along with new reasons for adhering to proper documentation procedures as they relate to identifying methods of analysis and conventions for expressing nutrient data. Quality control of food composition data and databases, and information needs and computer systems are also explored and presented, as relevant reviews and original research.
This book provides both scholarly and practical information for anyone involved in the production or use of food-related data. For people directly involved in food composition data generation, compilation, and scientific usage, it is a worthwhile companion volume to the UNU-INFOODS series of books. In addition to this user group, the book contains information that is appropriate and useful to just about all practitioners and policy planners in the health, agriculture, and food sectors.
The momentum of the First International Food Data Base Conference continues. The second conference was held in Lahti, Finland, in August 1995, and the proceedings will be published as a special edition of Food Chemistry. The third conference is scheduled as an official satellite to the 16th IUNS Congress of Nutrition to be held in Montreal, 24-26 July 1997.
Quality assurance principles for analytical laboratories. Second edition. Frederick M. Garfield. AOAC International, Arlington, Va, USA, 1991 (ISBN 0-935584-46-3) 196 pages, paperback. US$69.00 in North America; US$79.00 elsewhere.
Since it was first published in 1984, this manual has had four printings and has been distributed throughout the world. Applying the necessary controls and checks to ensure quality laboratory operations, as increasingly demanded by governmental regulations, is not simple. This authoritative manual describes in detail what is required for maintaining analytical laboratory quality. Its checklist of potential mistakes and the training and supervision guidelines are particularly useful. Every analytical laboratory should have a copy of this book on its shelves.
Structural changes in the demand for food in Asia. Food, Agriculture, and the Environment Discussion Paper 11. Jikun Huang and Howarth Bouis. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C., 1996. 23 pages, paperback.
Many Asian countries are expected to undergo structural transformations in their economies and rapid urbanization over the next 25 years. The changes in tastes and lifestyles engendered by urban living are likely to have significant influences on food demand - influences perhaps as strong as the well-documented influences of household incomes and food prices. Changes in marketing systems and occupational changes, closely linked with increasing per capita gross national product, also may influence the demand for food.
In this paper, estimates presented for Taiwan and China demonstrate that structural changes in food demand (as distinguished from changes due to income and price effects) have been significant factors driving the rapid changes in dietary patterns seen in East Asia over the past three decades. Because most previous demand studies have ignored the possible influence of structural shifts, which are highly correlated with increases in per capita income over time, the effects of income on food demand have been overestimated. Relatively little is known about the specific reasons underlying these structural shifts. Thus, it is difficult to form judgements as to the points at which, in the process of economy-wide structural adjustment, these structural changes in food demand will begin, accelerate, slow down, and perhaps stop.
The crucial question for demand projections in higher-income countries of Asia is the determination of when these structural shifts will decelerate, at which point the upwardly based estimates of income elasticities for meat, fish, and dairy products will begin to overestimate future demand. In lower-income countries, such as India and Indonesia, where meat consumption is presently quite low because structural transformation is in an early stage, time series data for meat consumption will not reflect a possible impending upward structural shift in demand. Thus, existing income elasticities will underestimate the demand for meat if these structural changes in food demand do indeed materialize.
This report establishes that structural changes can have large influences on food demand patterns and so points towards the need for further research to understand the underlying factors that account for these demand shifts.
Director General, IFPRI
Vitamins in health and disease. Tapan K. Basu and John W. T. Dickerson. CAB International, Walling-ford, UK, 1996. (ISBN 0-85198-986-1) 345 pages, paperback. £27.50; US$49.95 in Americas only.
All the vitamins important in human health are covered in this book, with each given individual consideration. The chemistry, sources, physiology, health implications, history, and many other aspects of each vitamin are thoroughly discussed. Further chapters cover clinically important topics, such as the therapeutic potential of vitamins, the interaction between vitamins and drugs, safety considerations of excess intake of vitamins, and the use and abuse of pseudovitamins. Much more information and detail than is commonly found in general nutrition textbooks is included. This volume provides a comprehensive source of information and reference.