The focus of our research involves B vitamins (especially vitamin B6 and folate) and their function in human nutrition, with emphasis on two main areas in which opportunities exist for research at undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels.
Our major research area is one-carbon metabolism, which constitutes the biochemical reactions involved in methylation reactions (for example, of homocysteine, DNA, etc.) and in the production of nucleotides for DNA and RNA synthesis. We are interested in determining the effects on these processes of dietary and genetic variables, including the metabolic consequences of: marginal intakes of certain B vitamins, factors such as high protein intake that can stress these reactions, and genetic variables in the human population. This research includes analysis of metabolite profiles and measurement of in vivo reaction rates using stable isotope labeling procedures in human subjects and various model systems.
Our other research area involves the nutritional quality of plant-derived foods and the potential for their nutritional enhancement through biofortification. In collaborative studies, we are working to gain a better understanding of the biochemical processes by which plants synthesize folate. Biofortification is the enhancement of nutritional value of a crop by increasing the production and accumulation of a nutrient in plants, which is an alternative to fortification in parts of the world in which fortification or supplementation may not be available or practical. The knowledge gained from these studies is being applied to increase folate production in experimental types of tomatoes and will be applied to other commodities of international importance.
359 Food Science and Human Nutrition Building
P.O. BOX 110370
University of Florida
Gainesville, Fl 32611-0370