Zinc biofortification of maize (Zea mays L.): Status and challenges uri icon

abstract

  • Zn deficiency is one of the leading health problems in children and women of developing countries. Different interventions could be used to overcome malnutrition, but biofortification is most impactful, convenient, sustainable and acceptable intervention. Maize is one of the major crops grown and consumed in the regions with prevalent Zn malnutrition; therefore, this is suitable target for Zn biofortification. Zn biofortification of maize could be achieved through agronomic and genetic approaches. Discussion of agronomic approaches with genetic approaches is prerequisite because soils in developing countries are deficit of Zn and availability of Zn in soils is mandatory for estimating the genetic responses of maize genotypes through genetic approaches. Seed priming, foliar and soil applications are agronomic tools for biofortification, but solo and combined applications of these treatments have different effects on Zn enrichment. Genetic approaches include the increase of Zn bioavailability or increase of kernel Zn concentration. Zn bioavailability could be increased by reducing the anti-nutritional factors or by increasing the bioavailability enhancers. Kernel Zn concentration could be improved through hybridization and selections, whereas genetically engineered attempts for improving Zn uptake from soil, loading in xylem, remobilization in grains and sequestration in endosperm can further improve the kernel Zn concentration. Key challenges associated with dissemination of Zn biofortified maize are also under discussion in this draft. Current review emphasized all of above-mentioned contents to provide roadmap for the development of Zn biofortified maize genotypes to curb the global Zn malnutrition.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019