Common bean is the most important directly consumed legume, especially in the least developed countries of Africa (e.g., Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda) and Latin America (e.g., Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador). Biofortification is the process of improving staple crops for mineral or vitamin content as a way to address malnutrition in developing countries. The main goals of mineral biofortification have been to increase the concentration of iron or zinc in certain major cereals and legumes. In humans, iron is essential for preventing anemia and for the proper functioning of many metabolic processes, whereas zinc is essential for adequate growth and for resistance to gastroenteric and respiratory infections, especially in children. This paper outlines the advantages and needs of mineral biofortification in common bean, starting with the steps of breeding for the trait such as germplasm screening, inheritance, physiological, or bioavailability studies and finishing with product development in the form of new biofortified varieties.
Blair, M.W. Mineral Biofortification Strategies for Food Staples: The Example of Common Bean. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2013) 61 (35) 8287-8294. [Safety of GM Crops: Compositional Analysis special issue] [DOI: 10.1021/jf400774y]