Reduction of phytic acid and enhancement of bioavailable micronutrients in food grains
More than half of the world populations are affected by micronutrient malnutrition and one third of world’s population suffers from anemia and zinc deficiency, particularly in developing countries. Iron and zinc deficiencies are the major health problems worldwide. Phytic acid is the major storage form of phosphorous in cereals, legumes, oil seeds and nuts. Phytic acid is known as a food inhibitor which chelates micronutrient and prevents it to be bioavailabe for monogastric animals, including humans, because they lack enzyme phytase in their digestive tract. Several methods have been developed to reduce the phytic acid content in food and improve the nutritional value of cereal which becomes poor due to such antinutrient. These include genetic improvement as well as several pre-treatment methods such as fermentation, soaking, germination and enzymatic treatment of grains with phytase enzyme. Biofortification of staple crops using modern biotechnological techniques can potentially help in alleviating malnutrition in developing countries.