Review

A dynamic website for a government/industry-funded project exploring biofortification of wheat with selenium

Elizabeth J. Adams

University of Nottingham

Received:

21 Oct 2007

Accepted:

21 Dec 2007

Published:

1 Mar 2008

Volume:

1

Issue:

1

Keywords:

biofortification, website, selenium, ethics, internet, cancer

Abstract:

In 2005, scientists within several UK-based academic and industrial organizations came together to work on a research project, funded jointly by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and several industry partners. The project was entitled Biofortification through Agronomy and Genotypes to Elevate the Levels of Selenium (BAGELS). The aim of the BAGELS project, which will report in 2009, is to determine if it is possible to increase safely the selenium (Se) content of bread, through the use of Se-containing fertilizers (i.e. agronomic biofortification). The BAGELS project is also seeking to study the natural genetic variation in grain Se concentration to determine if it might be possible to breed for Se-enriched wheat (i.e. genetic biofortification). The underlying rationale for the BAGELS project is that Se-biofortified wheat is a potential strategy for increasing the dietary intakes of Se and thereby improve human health for most of the population. It was recognized that an official website for the BAGELS project could be used to communicate the importance of Se to human health in addition to providing a simple means to exchange results between scientists. Therefore, the aim of my research project was to create a BAGELS project website, which delivered specific objectives to meet the needs of the project manager and project consortium members. After investigation into website design and construction, accessibility and web-authoring tools, a final dynamic website was created using the free open source software Joomla!. A review of the recent scientific studies on Se and health, and the options for increasing Se intake were included as a first step towards developing a source of public information. There is strong evidence linking low Se intake and status in humans and adverse health effects, including immune disfunction and cancer.