Special Issue "Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (21 May 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Andreas Börner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department Genebank, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben, Germany
Interests: germplasm; seed longevity; genetic integrity; genetic diversity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Elena Khlestkina
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
N. I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources, Bol'shaya Morskaya Str., 42, St Petersburg, Russia
Interests: barley; wheat; potato; genome editing; molecular markers; marker-assisted selection; molecular genetics; transcriptomics; flavonoids; anthocyanins
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Cereal grains have been the main component of human diet for thousands of years. Today, cereals (mainly rice, wheat, and maize, and to a lesser extent, barley, sorghum, and millet) are a source of staple foods providing half of the calories consumed by humans. In addition, cereal grains contain important nutrients beneficial for human health, including dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a wide range of bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids, etc. Increasing the micronutrient levels in staple crops can help to prevent and reduce micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A deficiency or iron deficiency-induced anemia in middle-income countries. Most valuable components are present in whole grain. Food products that contain significant quantities of whole grain components are often used for functional food production and dietary purposes. To enrich staple foods or functional foods with important nutrients, biofortification is applied as an intravital forming of health benefit properties while growing plants (agronomic biofortification) or even while developing new varieties (genetic biofortification). Plant genetic resources of cereal crops and their wild relatives deposited in genebanks are a valuable source of alleles for improvement of the nutritional value of grains of modern varieties via traditional breeding. Furthermore, information about these alleles may be useful for cultivar improvement using genome editing tools. Studies aimed at finding genes and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting micronutrient content and identification of desired allelic variants as well as reviews summarizing these data are within the scope of the current Special Issue. In addition, novel findings in agronomic biofortification, especially using microorganisms growing in association with plants and stimulating increased mobility, uptake, and enrichment of nutrients in the plant, are of great interest. Finally, improved breeding strategies for cereal biofortification and novel evidence for the health benefits of genetically fortified products will perfectly fit the purpose of the current issue.

Dr. Andreas Börner
Prof. Dr. Elena Khlestkina
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agronomic biofortification;
  • Bioavailability;
  • Cereal genetic resources;
  • Functional food;
  • Genetic biofortification;
  • Germplasm;
  • Landraces;
  • Nutritional value;
  • QTL;
  • Site-directed mutagenesis;

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Influence of Nitrogen Management Regimes on Milling Recovery and Grain Quality of Aromatic Rice in Different Rice Production Systems
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1841; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111841 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 814
Abstract
To examine the effect of nitrogen (N) management regimes on rice quality in different rice production systems, a field experiment was conducted in 2017 and 2018. The experimental treatments comprised of two production systems (transplanted rice: TPR and dry direct-seeded rice: DDSR) and [...] Read more.
To examine the effect of nitrogen (N) management regimes on rice quality in different rice production systems, a field experiment was conducted in 2017 and 2018. The experimental treatments comprised of two production systems (transplanted rice: TPR and dry direct-seeded rice: DDSR) and six N management treatments (0, 50, 100, and 150 kg N ha−1 as basal, and 100 and 150 kg N ha−1 in three splits which were regarded as N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, and N6, respectively). The results revealed that the rice quality attributes, i.e., broken rice recovery, abortive kernel, bursting, and curling were increased by 8%, 14%, 8%, and 14%, respectively, under DDSR than TPR. In the case of N management, split application of N reduced the chalky kernel (44%), abortive kernel (23%), opaque kernel (31%), bursting (24%), and curling (31%), while kernel protein contents, water absorption ratio, cooked grain length, and elongation ratio were increased by 41%, 88%, 25%, and 26%, respectively, as compared to the basal application of N. In short, DDSR cultivation reduced the appearance and cooking quality traits but white head rice recovery and nutritional quality were comparable to TPR. However, N application in splits either in DDSR or in TPR potentially improved the grain quality of rice compared with the basal application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits)
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Article
Assessing Effect of Marker-Based Improvement of Maize Synthetics on Agronomic Performance, Carotenoid Content, Combining Ability and Heterosis
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1625; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111625 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 564
Abstract
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a serious problem in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and other parts of the world. Understanding the effect of marker-based improvement (MARS) of two maize synthetics (HGA and HGB) representing different heterotic groups on their agronomic performance, carotenoid content, and [...] Read more.
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a serious problem in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and other parts of the world. Understanding the effect of marker-based improvement (MARS) of two maize synthetics (HGA and HGB) representing different heterotic groups on their agronomic performance, carotenoid content, and combining abilities could help identify suitable sources to develop divergent inbred lines for optimizing heterosis. This study involved three selection cycles each of the two synthetics and their nine varietal-cross hybrids together with a released check variety was conducted across four diverse locations in Nigeria in 2018 and 2019. Environment and hybrid effects were significant on grain yield and other agronomic traits as well as provitamin A content and other carotenoids. Genetic improvement per cycle of MARS in the parental synthetics was 15% for provitamin A, 25% for β-carotene and 26% for lutein in HGA and 4% for grain yield, 3% for zeaxanthin and 5% for α-carotene in HGB. Grain yield and agronomic traits of the two maize synthetics were controlled by additive and non-additive gene effects, while provitamin A content and other carotenoids were mainly controlled by additive gene effects. Some selection cycles which were high in grain yield and provitamin A content were identified as potential sources of new and divergent maize inbred lines in maize breeding programs. Some varietal-cross hybrids expressed significant mid-parent heterosis for grain yield and moderate mid-parent heterosis for provitamin A, β-carotene and xanthophylls. These hybrids could be commercialized at reasonable prices to small-scale farmers in rural areas that are most affected by vitamin A deficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits)
Article
The Strategy for Marker-Assisted Breeding of Anthocyanin-Rich Spring Bread Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Cultivars in Western Siberia
Agronomy 2020, 10(10), 1603; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10101603 - 20 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
In wheat, anthocyanin pigments can be accumulated in pericarp tissues (under control of the Pp genes) resulting in purple-colored grain. In the current study, a strategy, based on the use of molecular and morphological markers, was applied to create purple-grained bread wheat cultivars [...] Read more.
In wheat, anthocyanin pigments can be accumulated in pericarp tissues (under control of the Pp genes) resulting in purple-colored grain. In the current study, a strategy, based on the use of molecular and morphological markers, was applied to create purple-grained bread wheat cultivars adapted to the West Siberian region. The breeding scheme started from crossing of recipients (elite cultivars and lines) with donor lines carrying dominant alleles of the complementary genes Pp3 and Pp-D1. The F2 hybrids passed three-step marker-assisted selection, and those having dominant Pp-D1Pp-D1Pp3Pp3 genotypes were backcrossed with the recurrent parents. The desired BC1F2-3 progenies were selected using morphological marker, while BC1F3 also passed through field evaluation. At this stage, 120 lines were selected and planted in individual 1 m2 “breeding nursery (BN) plots” for assessment of heading dates, duration of vegetation period, resistance to powdery mildew, stem and leaf rusts, protein and gluten content, as well as productivity. After these investigations, a total of 17 promising anthocyanin-rich purple-grained lines characterized by multiple resistance and having best yield/quality characteristics were finally candidates for selection of commercial cultivars adapted to the West Siberian climate and suitable for functional food production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits)
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Article
Zinc-Induced Effects on Productivity, Zinc Use Efficiency, and Grain Biofortification of Bread Wheat under Different Tillage Permutations
Agronomy 2020, 10(10), 1566; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10101566 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Zinc (Zn) deficiency is a global concern for human health and causes a decrease in crop production and nutritional characteristics. A two-year field study was planned to evaluate comparative effects of various Zn application approaches in bread wheat under plough tillage (PT) and [...] Read more.
Zinc (Zn) deficiency is a global concern for human health and causes a decrease in crop production and nutritional characteristics. A two-year field study was planned to evaluate comparative effects of various Zn application approaches in bread wheat under plough tillage (PT) and zero tillage (ZT) system. Cultivation of wheat under ZT improved the soil organic carbon (17%), total soil porosity (11%), soil microbial biomass nitrogen (5%), and carbon (5%) in comparison to PT system averaged across the two years. Various efficiency indices were significantly influenced by Zn application methods during both years of experimentation. However, grain Zn contents were maximum with foliar-applied Zn in PT (31%) and soil-applied Zn under the ZT system (29.85%). Moreover, Zn use also enhanced the bioavailable Zn as lower phytate contents and phytate to Zn molar ratio were recorded. The highest bioavailable Zn was calculated for foliar (30%) and soil application (28%). Under both tillage systems, the maximum net benefits were obtained through Zn seed priming; nevertheless, ZT resulted in higher net benefits than PT due to low associated costs. In conclusion, Zn nutrition through different methods enhanced the productivity, profitability, and grain biofortification of wheat under PT and ZT systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits)
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Review

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Review
The Potential of Small Grains Crops in Enhancing Biofortification Breeding Strategies for Human Health Benefit
Agronomy 2021, 11(7), 1420; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071420 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 430
Abstract
Nutrition is a source of energy, and building material for the human organism. The quality of food has an effect on the quality of individual life. Minerals and vitamins participate in various catalytic and regulatory functions of the main metabolic processes: absorption, transport, [...] Read more.
Nutrition is a source of energy, and building material for the human organism. The quality of food has an effect on the quality of individual life. Minerals and vitamins participate in various catalytic and regulatory functions of the main metabolic processes: absorption, transport, redox and biosynthesis of organic compounds, genetic information transfer, etc. Regular consumption of dietary fibers like β-glucans and oat-specific phenolics, antioxidants, and avenanthramides, stimulate innate and acquired immunity, prevent cancer, obesity, reduce glucose, total cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels and regulate the expression of cholesterol-related genes. Thus, all those compounds are vitally important for the normal functional status of the human body. A deficiency in one or another essential nutrient causes disruptions in human metabolism, thus leading to serious illnesses. Plants are the main source of essential nutrients that are bioavailable for humans. One of the most popular groups of staple crops are the small grains crops (SGC), so these crops are most often used for biofortification purposes. Exploiting the potential of plant resources, biofortification is a long-term strategy, aimed at increasing the number of essential micro- and macronutrients in major food sources and ensuring their bioavailability. The most productive way to implement such strategy is the active use of the possibilities offered by collections of plant genetic resources, including SGC, concentrated in various countries of the world. The collections of plant resources contain both cultivated plants and their wild relatives that possess the required composition of micro- and macronutrients. A complex scientific approach to studying plant germplasm collections, together with agricultural practices (soil enrichment with fertilizers with a required composition), genetic biofortification (traditional breeding, marker-assisted selection or genetic engineering tactics), and their combinations will lead to the development of new biofortified cultivars and improvement of old ones, which can be used to solve the problems of unbalanced nutrition (malnutrition or hidden hunger) in different regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits)
Review
New Uses for Traditional Crops: The Case of Barley Biofortification
Agronomy 2020, 10(12), 1964; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121964 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 892
Abstract
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is one of the oldest domesticated crops used for both human and animal feed. Over the years however, its role in human diet has been very limited and replaced by the broad use of wheat products. Nowadays, micronutrient [...] Read more.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is one of the oldest domesticated crops used for both human and animal feed. Over the years however, its role in human diet has been very limited and replaced by the broad use of wheat products. Nowadays, micronutrient deficiency, also known as hidden hunger, is one of the major challenges to human health worldwide. Biofortification of staple crops has been broadly accepted as the best strategy to overcome these limitations. Studies on the nutritional value of barley have proven its multiple benefits on human health and drove new attention towards the cultivation under the light of new food purposes. Biofortification of barley is approached through agronomic practices, conventional breeding, and/or the use of biotechnological tools and research results show that barley can be a promising crop for the emergence of novel food products with a significant impact on human nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits)
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