Molecular Breeding

, 39:168 | Cite as

The transport of essential micronutrients in rice

  • Khurram BashirEmail author
  • Motoaki Seki
  • Naoko K. NishizawaEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Rice Functional Genomics


Micronutrients such as iron (Fe), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn) are integral to living organisms for normal growth and reproduction. In plants, these minerals are involved in various cellular and molecular processes, such as chlorophyll synthesis and photosynthesis (Cu, Fe, and Mn), respiration (Cu and Fe), and stabilization of DNA and gene expression (Zn). A deficiency or an excess of these minerals severely impairs plant growth and development. When soil pH is high, these elements are often present as oxidized compounds, making their uptake extremely difficult. Plants utilize complex mechanisms to acquire these minerals from the rhizosphere, transport them from roots to shoots, and deliver them to developing tissues and edible parts of the plants. Uptake of these metals is extremely complex and tightly regulated. Cadmium, which is toxic for all living organisms, significantly interferes with the uptake of these metals. Here, we review recent developments in understanding metal transport in plants with a particular focus on rice and discuss strategies for breeding crop plants suitable for a diverse range of soils and climates, which will contribute to the production of healthier food for human consumption.


Oryza sativa Iron Cadmium Copper Manganese Zinc Biofortification Fe deficiency 



We thank Dr. Takanori Kobayashi (Ishikawa Prefectural University, Japan) for critically reading this manuscript.

Authors’ contributions

K.B. wrote the manuscript, MS and NKN improved the manuscript. K.B and NKN finalized the manuscript.

Funding information

NKN received a grant from Advanced Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program (ALCA) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (Grant No. JPMJAL1107).

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Genomic Network Research TeamCenter for Sustainable Resource ScienceYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Plant Epigenome Regulation Laboratory, CPRRIKEN WAKOWakoJapan
  3. 3.Kihara Institute for Biological ResearchYokohama City UniversityYokohamaJapan
  4. 4.Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Research Institute for Bioresources and BiotechnologyIshikawa Prefectural UniversityNonoichiJapan

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