, Volume 247, Issue 3-4, pp 215-231
Date: 24 Jul 2010

Calcium storage in plants and the implications for calcium biofortification

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Calcium (Ca) is an essential nutrient for plants and animals, with key structural and signalling roles, and its deficiency in plants can result in poor biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, reduced crop quality and yield. Likewise, low Ca intake in humans has been linked to various diseases (e.g. rickets, osteoporosis, hypertension and colorectal cancer) which can threaten quality of life and have major economic costs. Biofortification of various food crops with Ca has been suggested as a good method to enhance human intake of Ca and is advocated as an economically and environmentally advantageous strategy. Efforts to enhance Ca content of crops via transgenic means have had promising results. Overall Ca content of transgenic plants has been increased but in some cases adverse affects on plant function have been observed. This suggests that a better understanding of how Ca ions (Ca2+) are stored and transported through plants is required to maximise the effectiveness of future approaches.