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Acta Nova

On-line version ISSN 1683-0789


MORALES, Eduardo A.; ACHA, Marcela  and  VILLARROEL, Ma. Luisa. In search of food alternatives facing climate change: a preliminary study of the nutritional impact of Nostoc in elementary school students of the community of Putucuni, Cordillera del Tunari, Quillacollo, Cochabamba-Bolivia. RevActaNova. [online]. 2017, vol.8, n.2, pp. 205-215. ISSN 1683-0789.

A brief preliminary study was performed with the objective to evaluate the impact of Nostoc, an edible cyanobacterium producing macroscopic colonies, in the nutritional state of primary school children (6-11 years old). The study was done in Putucuni (Quillacollo, Cochabamba, Bolivia). A study and a control group were established at random. The study group received a total of 13 doses of Nostoc every other day, as dry powder or liquid, both mixed with flavored yogurt. Anthropometric measurements were made during three visits to the school (October 15 and November 20, 2016 and May 5, 2017). Height data were not taken into account due to methodological disparities during the study. However, the weight data show that the study group had increased its weight by a mean of 1.19 kg by the second date, while by the third date the increment reached a mean of 2.55 kg. Compared to the mean increase in weigh of the control group by the third date (1.87 kg), it is noticeable that children fed with Nostoc augmented their weight much more. Moreover, the study group exposed a behavior pattern that was different to that of their classmates. Their attitude was very positive and their predisposition to study and to work in class was much higher as reported by their teachers. It is recommended that more studies are carried out that include larger groups and diverse age classes, with a more rigorous control. For now, the initial observations indicate that Nostoc has an influence on the diet of primary school children and that it could represent a food item of much benefit to human communities of the Altiplano.

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