GVSU Prof's Article Promotes Breadfruita

July 16, 2007
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A Grand Valley State University professor was honored this spring by the Michigan Dietetic Association for her work in improving nutrition and income among rural families in Haiti.

Carmen Nochera was selected to receive the 2007 Individual Public Relations Award following the publication of her article, "Properties of Extruded Products from Breadfruit Flour." The article promotes breadfruit as a crop that could potentially provide a highly nutritious and stable source of flour for use in food products.

"Breadfruit is a rich source of carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins and minerals," said Nochera. "It provides a valuable food resource in tropical countries that rely on expensive imported wheat, rice and potatoes." Previously, the use of breadfruit had been limited by its short shelf life as a fresh fruit. Producing flour from it improves its storage properties and expands its applications to baked products. Besides flour, a highly nutritious cereal product has been developed and distributed to undernourished school children in Port Au Prince.

Haiti is considered by the United Nations to be the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Nochera's article was supported by Compatible Technology International, a nonprofit organization working against hunger and poverty in the developing world. Together with General Mills in Minneapolis, Nochera and CTI have worked to increase the nutritional value of breadfruit and promote the crop in Haiti.

The project has proven itself an additional benefit to Haitian local economies, with breadfruit being produced locally and sold through women's cooperatives.

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