AS  Vol.7 No.5 , May 2016
Linking Agriculture with Health through Genetic and Agronomic Biofortification
Abstract: Malnutrition and associated health problems are partly related to minerals and vitamins deficiencies where anemia and stunting are the major diseases affecting nearly half of pregnant women and about 20% children under age of five, respectively in developing countries. Despite the significant progress made in recent decades, prevalence of stunting in Ethiopia remains high (44%, among children) that necessitate the country yet to make significant investment in nutrition and health. Strategies designed to overcome the problem range from micronutrient rich foods supplement to complementing foods with vegetables and fruits. However, such strategies are expensive as well as not sustainable to reach the poor households of developing countries. The persistence of the problem calls for agriculture based alternative solutions such as agronomic biofortification and micronutrients biofortification through plant breeding. Utilization of crop wild relatives, local landraces and old cultivars are proved to contain sufficient grain micronutrients and their utilization in breeding programs can solve the deficiency of micronutrients such as zinc and iron. Similarly, agronomic biofortification could improve grain Zn and Fe contents in several folds. Application methods and crop developmental stages during which fortification applied significantly determine the efficiency of fortification. Foliar application at heading and milking stages could accumulate very high Zn and Fe in cereal grains. The synergistic effect of genetic and agronomic fortification could also be utilized to produce Zn and Fe rich food crops. Hence, linking agriculture with nutrition and health could offer equitable, effective, sustainable and cheap solutions to micronutrients malnutrition and their deficiency related health problems.
Cite this paper: Melash, A. , Mengistu, D. and Aberra, D. (2016) Linking Agriculture with Health through Genetic and Agronomic Biofortification. Agricultural Sciences, 7, 295-307. doi: 10.4236/as.2016.75029.

[1]   Shenkin, A. (2006) Micronutrients in Health and Disease. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 82, 559-567.

[2]   Darnton-Hill, I., Bloem, M. and Chopra, M. (2006) Achieving the Millennium Development Goals through Mainstreaming Nutrition: Speaking with One Voice. Public Health Nutrition, 9, 537-539.

[3]   FAO (2008) The State of Food Insecurity in the World: High Food Prices and Food Security—Threats and Opportunities. Rome.

[4]   Welch, R. and Graham, R. (2004) Breeding for Micronutrients in Staple Food Crops from a Human Nutrition Perspective. Journal of Experimental Botany, 55, 353-364.

[5]   Welch, R. (2002) The Impact of Mineral Nutrients in Food Crops on Global Human Health. Plant and Soil, 247, 83-90.

[6]   Fabbri, A. and Crosby, G. (2015) A Review of the Impact of Preparation and Cooking on the Nutritional Quality of Vegetables and Legumes. International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, Available online 24 November 2015, In Press.

[7]   Pereira, E., Carvalho, L., Dellamora-Ortiz, D., Cardoso, F., Carvalho, J., Viana, J., Freitas, S. and Rocha, M. (2013) Effects of Cooking Methods on the Iron and Zinc Contents in Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) to Combat Nutritional Deficiencies in Brazil. Food & Nutrition Research, 58, 20694.

[8]   Buri, R., Von, R. and Gavin, M. (2004) Description and Characterization of Wheat Aleurone. Cereal Foods World, 49, 274-281.

[9]   Hess, S. and King, J. (2009) Effects of Maternal Zinc Supplementation on Pregnancy and Lactation Outcomes. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 30, S60-S78.

[10]   Andreini, C., Banci, L. and Rosato, A. (2006) Zinc through the Three Domains of Life. Journal of proteome Research, 5, 3173-3178.

[11]   Prentice, A., Gershwin, M., Schaible, U., Keusch, G., Victoria, L. and Gordon, J. (2008) New Challenges in Studying Nutrition Disease Interactions in the Developing World. The Journal of Clinical Investigations, 118, 1322-1329.

[12]   Kumera, G., Awoke, T. Melese, T., Eshetie, S., Mekuria, G., Mekonnen, F., Ewunetu, T. and Gedle, D. (2015) Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency and Its Association with Dietary, Serum Albumin and Intestinal Parasitic Infection among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Care at the University of Gondar Hospital, Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia. BMC Nutrition, 1, 31.

[13]   DHS (2011) Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey: Preliminary Report. Central Statistical Agency and Measure, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Calverton, USA.

[14]   Belachew, T. and Legesse, Y. (2006) Risk Factors for Anemia among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinic at Jimma University Hospital, Southwest Ethiopia. Ethiopian Medical Journal, 44, 211-220.

[15]   Gies S., Brabin, B., Yassin, M. and Cuevas, L. (2003) Comparison of Screening Methods for Anemia in Pregnant Women in Awassa, Ethiopia. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 8, 301-309.

[16]   EPHI (2013) Ethiopia National Food Consumption Survey Report. Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa.

[17]   Central Statistical Authority [Ethiopia] and ORC Macro (2006) Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Calverton, USA: Central Statistical Agency and ORC Macro.

[18]   Sifakis, S. and Pharmakides, G. (2000) Anemia in Pregnancy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 900, 125- 136.

[19]   Velu, G., Ortiz-Monasterio, I., Cakmak, I., Hao, Y. and Signh, R. (2014) Biofortification Strategies to Increase Grain Zinc and Iron Concentrations in Wheat. Journal of Cereal Sciences, 59, 365-372.

[20]   Ortiz-Monasterio, J., Palacios-Rojas, N., Meng, E., Pixley, K., Trethowan, R. and Peña, R. (2007) Enhancing the Mineral and Vitamin Content of Wheat and Maize through Plant Breeding. Journal of Cereal Science, 46, 293-307.

[21]   Cakmak, I., Torun, A., Millet, E., Feldman, M., Fahima, T., Korol, A., Nevo, E., Braun, H. and Ozkan, H. (2004) Triticum dicoccoides: An Important Genetic Resource for Increasing Zinc and Iron Concentration in Modern Cultivated Wheat. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 50, 1047-1054.

[22]   Alloway, B. (2007) Zinc in Soils and Crop Nutrition. IZA Publications, International Zinc Association, Brussels.

[23]   Bogdanovic, D., Ubavic, M. and Cuvardic, M. (1999) Effect of Phosphorus Fertilization on Zn and Cd Contents in Soil and Corn Plants. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 54, 49-56.

[24]   Prasad, R., Shivay, Y. and Kumar, D. (2014) Agronomic Biofortification of Cereal Grains with Iron and Zinc. In: Sparks, D.L., Ed., Advances in Agronomy, Vol. 125, Academic Press, Burlington, 55-91.

[25]   Hambidge, K., Miller, L., Westcott, J., Shang, X. and Krebs, N. (2010) Zn Bioavailability and Homeostasis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91, 1478S-1483S.

[26]   Kuwano, M., Ohyama, A., Tanaka, Y., Mimura, T., Takaiwa, F. and Yoshida, K.T. (2006) Molecular Breeding for Transgenic Rice with Low-Phytic-Acid Phenotype through Manipulating Myo-Inositol 3-Phosphate Synthase Gene. Molecular Breeding, 18, 263-272.

[27]   Iqbal, T., Lewis, K. and Cooper, B. (1996) Phytase Activity in the Humans and Rat Intestines. Gut, 35, 1233-1236.

[28]   Bindra, G., Gibson, R. and Thompson, L. (1986) [Phytate][Calcium]/[Zn] Ratios in Asian Immigrant Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diets and Their Relationship to Zn Nutrition. Nutrition Research, 6, 475-483.

[29]   Ozturk, A., Caglar, O. and Bulut, S. (2006) Growth and Yield Response of Facultative Wheat to Winter Sowing, Freezing Sowing and Spring Sowing at Different Seeding Rates. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 192, 10-16.

[30]   Graham, R., Welch, R., Saunders, D., et al. (2007) Nutritious Subsistence Food Systems. Advance in Agronomy, 92, 1-74.

[31]   Impa, S. and Johnson-Beebout, S.E. (2012) Mitigating Zinc Deficiency and Achieving High Grain Zn in Rice through Integration of Soil Chemistry and Plant Physiology Research. Plant and Soil, 361, 3-41.

[32]   Zhang, Y., Shi, R., Rezaul, K.M., Zhang, F. and Zou, C. (2010) Iron and Zinc Concentrations in Grain and Flour of Winter Wheat as Affected by Foliar Application. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 58, 12268-12274.

[33]   Gomez-Galera, S., Rojas, E., Sudhakar, D., Zhu, C., Pelacho, A., Capell, T. and Christou, P. (2010) Critical Evaluation of Strategies for Mineral Fortification of Staple Food Crops. Transgenic Research, 19, 165-180.

[34]   Quisumbing, A., Brown, L., Feldstein, H., Haddad, L. and Pena, C. (1995) Women: The Key to Food Security. IFPRI Food Policy Report, Washington DC.

[35]   Weingärtner, L. (2005) The Concept of Food and Nutrition Security. In: Klennert, K., Ed., Achieving Food and Nutrition Security: Actions to Meet the Global Challenge, InWEnt, Starnberg, 1-28.

[36]   Hotz, C. (2009) The Potential to Improve Zinc Status through Biofortification of Staple Food Crops with Zinc. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 30, S172-S178.

[37]   Cakmak, I. (2008) Enrichment of Cereal Grains with Zinc: Agronomic or Genetic Biofortification? Plant and Soil, 302, 1-17.

[38]   Haider, B. and Bhutta, Z. (2009) The Effect of Therapeutic Zinc Supplementation among Young Children with Selected Infections: A Review of the Evidence. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 30, S41-S49.

[39]   Sesikaran, B. and Ranganathan, S. (2009) Salt Fortification for Micronutrient Security. Symposium on Nutrition Security for India—Issues and Way Forward, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, 3-4 August 2009, 15-16.

[40]   Gibson, R. and Anderson, V. (2009) A Review of Interventions Based on Dietary Diversification or Modification Strategies with the Potential to Enhance Intakes of Total and Absorbable Zinc. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 30, S108-S143.

[41]   Swaminathan, M. (2002) Agricultural Progress and Nutritional Security. Inaugural Address. 2nd International Agronomy Congress on Balancing Food and Environmental Security—A Continuing Challenge, New Delhi, 26-30 November 2002, 22.

[42]   White, P. and Broadley, M. (2005) Biofortifying Crops with Essential Mineral Elements. Trends in Plant Science, 10, 586-593.

[43]   Stein, A.J. (2010) Global Impacts of Human Mineral Nutrition. Plant and Soil, 335, 133-154.

[44]   Ramaswami, B. (2007) Biofortified Crops and Biotechnology: A Political Economy Landscape for India. AgBioForum, 10, 170-177.

[45]   Murray-Kolb, L., Takaiwa, F., Goto, F., Yoshihara, T., Theil, E. and Beard, L. (2002) Transgenic Rice is a Source of Iron for Iron-Depleted Rats. Journal of Nutrition, 132, 957-960.

[46]   Takahashi, M., Nakanishi, S., Kawasaki, S., Nishizawa, N. and Mori, S. (2001) Enhanced Tolerance of Rice to Low Iron Availability in Alkaline Soils Using Barley Nicotianamine Aminotransferase Genes. Natural Biotechnology, 19, 466-469.

[47]   Nestel, P., Bouis, H., Meenakshi, J. and Pfeiffer, W. (2006) Biofortification of Staple Food Crops. Journal of Nutrition, 136, 1064-1067.

[48]   Conti, M., Cubadda, F. and Carcea, M. (2000) Trace Metals in Soft and Durum Wheat from Italy. Food Additives & Contaminants, 17, 45-53.

[49]   Ficco, D., Riefolo, C., Nicastro, G., De Simone, C., Di Gesu, A., Beleggia, R., Platani, C., Cattivelli, L. and De Vita, P. (2009) Phytate and Mineral Elements Concentration in a Collection of Italian Durum Wheat Cultivars. Field Crops Research, 111, 235-242.

[50]   Velu, G., Singh, R., Huerta-Espino, J., PeÑa-Bautista, R., Arun, B., Mahendru-Singh, A., Yaqub Mujahid, M., Sohu, V., Mavi, G., Crossa, J., et al. (2012) Performance of Biofortified Spring Wheat Genotypes in Target Environments for Grain Zinc and Iron Concentrations. Field Crops Research, 137, 261-267.

[51]   Ozturk, L., Torun, B., Ozkan, H., Kaya, Z. and Cakmak, I. (2001) Tolerance of 65 Durum Wheat Genotypes to Zinc Deficiency in a Calcareous Soil. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 24, 1831-1847.

[52]   Monasterio, I. and Graham, R. (2000) Breeding for Trace Minerals in Wheat. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 21, 392-396.

[53]   Zhao, F., Su, Y., Dunham, S., Rakszegi, M., Bedo, Z., McGrath, S. and Shewry, P. (2009) Variation in Mineral Micronutrient Concentrations in Grain of Wheat Lines of Diverse Origin. Journal of Cereal Science, 49, 290-295.

[54]   Abrar, H., Larsson, H., Kuktaite, R. and Johansson, E. (2010) Mineral Composition of Organically Grown Wheat Genotypes: Contribution to Daily Minerals Intake. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7, 3442-3456.

[55]   Cakmak, I., Ozkan, H., Braun, R., Welch, R. and Romheld, V. (2007) Zn and Iron Concentrations in Seeds of Wild, Primitive, and Modern Wheats. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 21, 401-403.

[56]   Amede, T., Stroud, A. and Aune, J. (2004) Advancing Human Nutrition without Degrading Land Resources through Modeling Cropping Systems in the Ethiopian Highlands. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 25, 344-353.

[57]   Valéria, A., Guimarães, P., Queiroz, L., Guedes, E., Vasconcelos, V., Guimarães, L., Ribeiro, P. and Schaffert, R. (2010) Iron and Zinc Availability in Maize Lines. Food Science and Technology (Campinas), 31, 577-583.

[58]   Badigannavar, A., Girish, G., Ramachandran, V. and Ganapathi, T. (2016) Genotypic Variation for Seed Protein and Mineral Content among Post-Rainy Season-Grown Sorghum Genotypes. The Crop Journal, 4, 61-67.

[59]   Kayode, A., Linnemann, A., Hounhouigan, J., Nout, M. and Van Boekel, M. (2006) Genetic and Environmental Impact on Iron, Zinc, and Phytate in Food Sorghum Grown in Benin. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 54, 256-262.

[60]   Alloway, B. (2009) Soil Factors Associated with Zn Deficiency in Crops and Humans. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 31, 537-548.

[61]   Impa, S., Morete, M., Ismail, A., Schulin, R. and Johnson-Beebout, S. (2013) Zn Uptake, Translocation, and Grain Zn Loading in Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Genotypes Selected for Zn Deficiency Tolerance and High Grain Zn. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64, 2739-2751.

[62]   Clark, R. (1983) Plant Genotype Differences in the Uptake, Translocation, Accumulation, and Use of Mineral Elements Required for Plant Growth. In: Saric, M.R. and Loughman, B.C., Eds., Genetic Aspects of Plant Nutrition, Vol. 8, Springer, Dordrecht, 49-70.

[63]   Hamilton, M., Westermann, D. and James, D. (1993) Factors Affecting Zinc Uptake in Cropping Systems. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 57, 1310-1315.

[64]   Jaffe, G. (2005) Withering on the Vine: Will Agricultural Biotech’s Promises Bear Fruit? Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington DC.

[65]   Mathpal, B., Srivastava, P., Shankhdhar, D. and Shankhdhar, S. (2015) Zinc Enrichment in Wheat Genotypes under Various Methods of Zinc Application. Plant, Soil and Environment, 61, 171-175.

[66]   Mao, H., Wang, J., Zan, Y., Lyons, G. and Zou, C. (2014) Using Agronomic Biofortification to Boost Zinc, Selenium, and Iodine Concentrations of Food Crops Grown on the Loess Plateau in China. Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 14, 459-470.

[67]   Yilmaz, A., Ekiz, H., Torun, B., Gultekin, I., Karanlik, S., Bagci, S. and Cakmak, I. (1997) Effect of Different Zinc Application Methods on Grain Yield and Zinc Concentration in Wheat Grown on Zinc-Deficient Calcareous Soils in Central Anatolia. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 20, 461-471.

[68]   Narwal, R., Malik, R. and Dahiya, R. (2010) Addressing Variations in Status of a Few Nutritionally Important Micronutrients in Wheat Crop. 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for a Changing World, Brisbane, 1-6 August 2010, 1-3.

[69]   Cakmak, I., Pfeiffer, W. and McClafferty, B. (2010) Biofortification of Durum Wheat with Zinc and Iron. Cereal Chemistry, 87, 10-20.

[70]   Gomez-Beccerra, H., Yazici, A., Ozturk, L., Budak, H., Peleg, Z., Morgounov, A., Fahima, T., Saranga, Y. and Cakmak, I. (2010) Genetic Variation and Environmental Stability of Grain Mineral Nutrient Concentrations in Triticum dicoccoides under Five Environments. Euphytica, 171, 39-52.

[71]   Brown, K., Hambidge, K. and Ranum, P. (2010) Zinc Fortification of Cereal Flours: Current Recommendations and Research Needs. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 31, S62-S74.

[72]   Aciksoz, S., Yazici, A. and Cakmak, I. (2010) Effect of Nitrogen and Iron Fertilizers on Grain Concentration of Iron in Wheat. 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for a Changing World, Brisbane, 1-6 August 2010, 7-8.

[73]   Ghafari, H. and Razmjoo, J. (2015) Response of Durum Wheat to Foliar Application of Varied Sources and Rates of Iron Fertilizers. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 17, 321-331.

[74]   Zeidan, M., Manal, F. and Hamouda, H. (2010) Effect of Foliar Fertilization of Fe, Mn and Zn on Wheat Yield and Quality in Low Sandy Soils Fertility. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 6, 696-699.

[75]   Cakmak, I. (2012) Zinc Fertilizer Strategy for Improving Yield. The Fluid Journal, 20, 4-7.

[76]   Maralian, H. (2009) Effect of Foliar Application of Zn and Fe on Wheat Yield and Quality. African Journal of Biotechnology, 8, 6795-6798.

[77]   Haslett, B., Reid, R. and Rengel, Z. (2001) Zinc Mobility in Wheat: Uptake and Distribution of Zinc Applied to Leaves or Roots. Annals of Botany, 87, 379-386.

[78]   Bouis, H. and Welch, R. (2010) Biofortification—A Sustainable Agricultural Strategy for Reducing Micronutrient Malnutrition in the Global South. Crop Science, 50, 20-32.

[79]   Velu, G., Singh, R., Huerta-Espino, J., Peña, J. and Ortiz-Monasterio, I. (2011) Breeding for Enhanced Zinc and Iron Concentration in CIMMYT Spring Wheat Germplasm. Czech Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding, 47, S174-S177.

[80]   Gao, X., Lukow, O. and Grant, C. (2012) Grain Concentrations of Protein, Iron and Zinc and Bread Making Quality in Spring Wheat as Affected by Seeding Date and Nitrogen Fertilizer Management. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 121, 36-44.

[81]   Narwal, R., Dahiya, R., Malik, R. and Kala, R. (2012) Influence of Genetic Variability on Zinc, Iron and Manganese Responses in Wheat. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 121, 45-48.

[82]   Rawat, N., Tiwari, V., Chhuneja, P. and Dhaliwal, S. (2009) Evaluation and Utilization of Aegilops and Wild Triticum Species for Enhancing Iron and Zinc Content in Wheat. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 56, 53-64.

[83]   Aggett, P. (1983) Acrodermatitis Enteropathica. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, 6, 39-43.