Biofortification of Trace Elements in Food Crops for Human Health
Micronutrient deficiencies have been reported in food crops worldwide. Several macro- and micronutrients are essential for human health. However, among these elements, the trace elements zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), iodine (I), selenium (Se), and cobalt (Co) are limiting in the diets of much of the world's population. According to United Nations estimates, about 1 billion people, especially woman and children, are suffering from malnutrition of trace elements, especially in Africa, Asia, and South America. Improving bioavailability of these elements in food crops is an important strategy to overcome trace-element deficiencies in food crops and improving human health. Genetic variability in micronutrient contents in the grain of crops such as rice, corn, wheat, barley, soybean, and dry bean is widely reported in the literature. Hence, use of genetic variability among crop species and genotypes within species is an important strategy to achieve biofortification of grain of staple food crops. Other practices that can be adopted to improve bioavailability of essential elements in food crops are adopting appropriate agronomic practices, such as adequate rate, effective sources, and effective methods of fertilizer application. Use of biotechnology is also feasible to biofortification of staple food crops. Planting indigenous and traditional food crop species with high nutritive value is another important strategy to improve trace elements in human food.
Fageria, N.K.; Moraes, M.F.; Ferreira, E.P.B.; Knupp, A.M. Biofortification of Trace Elements in Food Crops for Human Health. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis (2012) 43 (3) 556-570. [DOI: 10.1080/00103624.2012.639431]