A Biodiverse Rich Environment Does Not Contribute to a Better Diet: A Case Study from DR Congo


Termote C, Meyi MB, Djailo BD, Huybregts L, Lachat C, Kolsteren P, Damme PV. A Biodiverse Rich Environment Does Not Contribute to a Better Diet: A Case Study from DR Congo. PLoS ONE [Internet]. 2012;7 (1) :e30533.


The potential of biodiversity to increase and sustain nutrition security is increasingly recognized by the international research community. To date however, dietary assessment studies that have assessed how biodiversity actually contributes to human diets are virtually absent. This study measured the contribution of wild edible plants (WEP) to the dietary quality in the high biodiverse context of DR Congo. The habitual dietary intake was estimated from 2 multiple-pass 24 h dietary recalls for 363 urban and 129 rural women. All WEP were collected during previous ethnobotanical investigations and identified and deposited in the National Botanical Garden of Belgium (BR). Results showed that in a high biodiverse region with precarious food security, WEP are insufficiently consumed to increase nutrition security or dietary adequacy. The highest contribution came from Dacryodes edulis in the village sample contributing 4.8% of total energy intake. Considering the nutrient composition of the many WEP available in the region and known by the indigenous populations, the potential to increase nutrition security is vast. Additional research regarding the dietary contribution of agricultural biodiversity and the nutrient composition of WEP would allow to integrate them into appropriate dietary guidelines for the region and pave the way to domesticate the most interesting WEP. 

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Last updated on 04/10/2017