UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

AGRI4407 Plant and Human Nutrition

Credit 6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Agricultural Science [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
Content This is an advanced unit linking soil fertility, plant nutrition and human diet. It emphasises (1) plant accumulation of macronutrients and micronutrients in edible parts and bioavailability of these nutrients in the human digestive tract; and (2) supply of antioxidants, vitamins and other health-promoting phytochemicals in edible plant parts. Special attention is paid to the balance between nutrients and antinutrients in plant-based food. Physiological mechanisms governing uptake of mineral nutrients from soil and transport to and remobilisation from non-edible into edible plant parts (particularly grains) are emphasised together with biosynthesis of phytochemicals (nutraceuticals) in edible plant tissues. Various types of biofortification (e.g. fertilisation and other agricultural measures, selection of genotypes with enhanced nutrient accumulation in edible parts, etc.) are covered. Students gain an understanding of the dynamics of nutrient cycling from soil to plants to humans, as well as the importance of nutritional food quality. While the main emphasis is on soils and plants, attention is also paid to food processing and social and health issues associated with food choice and quality.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) understand processes governing cycling of macronutrients and micronutrients from soils to plants to humans; (2) understand the role of phytochemicals in a healthy diet; (3) integrate the concept of nutrient bioavailability across the soil–plant–human continuum; (4) understand agricultural and genetic means of producing food with a high content of micronutrients; (5) analyse, critically assess, present and discuss experimental data; (6) write research essays based on relevant literature; and (7) place relevant soil and plant science information in the context of healthy food production.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) a research essay based on assigned literature (75 per cent) and (2) a seminar on an assigned topic (25 per cent). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Professor Zed Rengel
Unit rules
Prerequisites: enrolment in the Master of Agricultural Science (72510) or the Master of Biotechnology (71580) or the Master of Geographic Information Science (71570) or the Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BH004)
Contact hours total workload: 150 hours; contact hours: 6 days full-time
Unit Outlinehttp://www.unitoutlines.science.uwa.edu.au/Units/AGRI4407/TS-TP-1/2017
Note There is no end-of-semester examination in this unit. Students are assigned literature and write an essay based on that literature, supported by lectures and class discussions. Group work comprises a seminar presentation on an assigned topic linked to lecture and essay material.

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