Plant Nutrition Biofortification
Biofortification is a practice developed mainly as a food strategy addressing several widespread deficiencies remaining prevalent in low-income countries, consisting of adding micronutrients and other health-related molecules to food crops, being sustainable, easy to manage, low cost and effective in addressing malnutrition in countries where the population’s diet is based on low-quality food. Indeed, humans need a minimum daily intake of micronutrients and vitamins to maintain a balanced metabolism. An inadequate dietary intake of one or more micronutrient or vitamin has far-reaching adverse health consequences at all stages of life, and is a pervasive issue for all countries. Strategies commonly adopted for averting micronutrient deficiencies lie in the distribution of micronutrient supplements as drug preparations, to which not all populations worldwide have access to. Alternatively, staple crops can be biofortified using genetic and agronomic approaches. Micronutrients can be applied to plants in combination with other beneficial elements or other health-related compounds through an array of methods that, mainly, depend on the edible produce to enrich. In addition to promoting an increase in the nutritional value of food crops, plant bioenrichment often determines further positive outcomes in several aspects of plant physiology and metabolism and a greater resistance to certain types of stress, either abiotic or biotic.
A significant portion of the developing world’s population largely relies on one or more staple crop for nutrition, which are the subject of biofortification projects carried out using agronomic approaches, conventional breeding or modern biotechnological methods. Micronutrients play a variety of roles in cell metabolism and homeostasis, and their deficiency can result in an increased incidence of many diseases and metabolic disorders. Deficiencies in iron (Fe), zinc (Zn) and iodine (I) are the most common on a global scale and have a negative impact on health. In past and recent years, food supplements have been the main strategy used to enrich the diet with vitamins and minerals, though having a number of weaknesses, such as the decreased bioavailability of micronutrients after food processing. Plants require at least 14 mineral elements for their nutrition, including the macronutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S) and the micronutrients chlorine (Cl), boron (B), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni) and molybdenum (Mo). As these mineral elements are acquired from the soil, agricultural production depends on the properties of the soil controlling their availability and being reduced when they are scarcely present in the soil solution.
A novel challenge in agriculture is the production of biofortified vegetables to improve the nutritional status of consumers that feed on them, while allowing the producers to offer more valuable products rich in micronutrients. The ability to rapidly identify and characterize genes involved in plant metabolism has been a driving force in recent biofortification efforts, being made possible by the rapid development of whole genome sequencing, high throughput physical mapping, the global gene expression analysis and metabolite profiling applied to plants. These techniques have made it possible to contribute an important impetus to the biofortification of plants. This Topic aims to present a collection of high-quality relevant scientific papers to promote discussions, informing the scientific community of new information. Original articles and review papers concerning plant biofortification encompassing agronomic, metabolomic and genetic approaches, and/or evaluating the effects of biofortification on plant physiology and resistance to stress are welcome.
Dr. Andrea Ertani
Dr. Michela Schiavon
|Journal Name||Impact Factor||CiteScore||Launched Year||First Decision (median)||APC|
|2.923||1.8||2015||15.9 Days||1600 CHF|
|3.408||3.1||2011||19.8 Days||1800 CHF|
|3.949||3.9||2011||18.7 Days||2000 CHF|
|-||-||2021||15.0 days *||1000 CHF|
|4.658||3.6||2012||13.3 Days||2200 CHF|
* Median value for all MDPI journals in the first half of 2022.
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