Date: 07 Jan 2011

Micronutrient-Efficient Genotypes for Crop Yield and Nutritional Quality in Sustainable Agriculture

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Abstract

About 4 billion people will be added onto the present population by 2050. To meet further demand for food, agricultural production should increase on the existing land. Since the Green Revolution, higher crop production per unit area has resulted in greater depletion of soil phytoavailable micronutrients while less attention has been paid to micronutrients fertilization. Now, micronutrient deficiency has become a limiting factor for crop productivity in many agricultural lands worldwide. Furthermore, many food systems in developing countries can not provide sufficient micronutrient content to meet the demands of their citizens, especially low-income families. There are several solutions such as soil and foliar fertilization, crop systems, application of organic amendments to correct micronutrients deficiency and to increase their density in edible parts of plants. This review article presents (1) agronomic approaches to improve crop yield and micronutrient content of food crops, and (2)  genotypic variation in uptake and accumulation of micronutrients. Considering ecological concerns, cultivation and breeding of micronutrient-efficient genotypes in combination with proper agronomic management practices appear as the most sustainable and cost-effective solution for alleviating food-chain micronutrient deficiency. Micronutrient-efficient genotypes could provide a number of benefits such as reductions in the use of fertilizers, improvements in seedling vigor, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Using bioavailable micronutrient-dense staple crop cultivars can also be used to improve the micronutrient nutritional status of human.