HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Today, 805 million people in the world are chronically undernourished according to the UN FAO. Simultaneously, societies all over the world have to confront the increased burden of obesity and the unprecedented social and economic challenge presented by aging populations. With the population expected to rise above nine billion by 2050, these challenges will not get any easier.
Mars scientists conduct research in nutrition, genomics and genetics to explore the positive impact particular foods and agricultural practices could have on human health.
Cocoa flavanols are bioactive compounds found naturally in fresh cocoa beans from the cocoa pod or "fruit." They are mostly destroyed during the manufacturing of chocolate.
For more than 20 years, we’ve been conducting comprehensive research to advance understanding of these compounds and their effects on human health. A significant body of research now shows that cocoa flavanols can promote healthy blood vessel function.
We have worked with a network of scientific collaborators around the world, including the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the EU FLAVIOLA consortium and the US National Institutes of Health, which resulted in 140 science papers published in peer-reviewed journals and more than 100 patents filed globally.
AFRICAN ORPHAN CROPS
Mars is a founding member of the African Orphan Crops Consortium — an effort to improve the nutritional content, yield and resilience of the 101 most important crops in Africa.
African orphan crops are food crops, such as okra, finger millet and spider plant, that are primarily grown by women in the rural sector for their families. Because these crops are not the world’s most-traded commodities, they have been neglected by research and development, which is why they are often described as “orphaned” and “underutilized.”
The AOCC is sequencing, assembling and annotating the genomes of the 101 selected orphan crops and putting 100% of the data into the public domain. Plant breeders will be able to use this data to breed varieties that are higher yielding, more nutritious, more resilient to climate change and drought, and resistant to diseases.
Mars scientists conduct research in nutrition, genomics and genetics to explore the relationship between food and human health.