PMIL's Mark Manary making progress with Malnutrition Interventions project

By Christy Fricks
University of Georgia, Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

Project Updates

Mark Manary returned from a trip in February of 2015 to Blantyre and Mangochi, Malawi. While there, he helped prepare the Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food being used in the study on the effects of better nutrition during pregnancy. He also visited the clinics where the women in the study are being treated. During the visit, he was able to meet with the local project team and verified that the project is making good progress.

Manary also met with visiting international officials from UNICEF, World Food Program, and Doctors without Borders. According to Manary, UNICEF and Doctors without Borders are exploring the use of PMIL’s approach in treating pregnant women in their own programs.

Recent Publications

High Oleic Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food Maintains Docosahexaenoic Acid Status in Severe Malnutrition: A Randomized, Blinded Trial.

Published January 28, 2015: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition

PMIL Malawi partners Mark Manary of Washington University in St Louis, and Ken Maleta and Chrissie Thakwalakwa of the University of Malawi, were co-authors on a recently published article about the levels of essential fatty acids in peanut-based Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).

The standard RUTF formula is high in linoleic acid and low in alpha linoleic acid, which may negatively affect the levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two fatty acids known to positively affect neural development in children. This research evaluated a high oleic RUTF formula compared to the standard formula and showed a positive, significant impact on levels of DHA and EPA in a cohort of children involved in the study.

PMIL’s Integrated Global Breeding project is engaged in the development and evaluation of varieties that naturally produce a higher ratio of oleic acid to linoleic acid. This trend in the breeding community has been supported by the peanut industry for the improved shelf life of high oleic varieties because they oxidize slower, and therefore it takes longer before rancidity sets in. These findings may give stronger evidence to the additional importance of the health aspects of the high oleic trait as well.

Notes from the Field: Lauren Singh

Lauren Singh, research coordinator at Washington University working with Dr. Mark Manary, traveled to Blantyre, Malawi in January. Upon her return, she shared some of her experiences and photos from her first trip to Malawi to work on the study.

“One of the most rewarding things was meeting the babies. I took the measurements of two of the babies at their 3-month post-partum visit. One of the mothers participating in the study that I met, her baby was born at a healthy weight and is not malnourished.

In Malawi, the study is known as ‘Mama Chiponde.’ Chiponde is the local name for peanut paste. This is one of the supplementary foods given to the mother in the study.

During my visit, I assisted with data collection at two of the study sites. Once moderately malnourished pregnant women are enrolled in the study, they are followed every two weeks until they deliver their baby. At these follow-up visits the mother’s measurements are taken and they are given a supply of one of the supplementary foods that they have been assigned to.

I helped take anthropometric measurements such as height, weight, and mid upper arm circumference. Once the mother delivers, the study follows the mother and baby for three months.

The mothers of the study seemed pleased that the project gives them assistance during their pregnancy and provides them with a greater potential to deliver a healthy baby.”

Read more about Mark Manary’s research project.

Published March 31, 2015