Transgenic Research

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 165–180 | Cite as

Critical evaluation of strategies for mineral fortification of staple food crops

  • Sonia Gómez-GaleraEmail author
  • Eduard Rojas
  • Duraialagaraja Sudhakar
  • Changfu Zhu
  • Ana M. Pelacho
  • Teresa Capell
  • Paul Christou


Staple food crops, in particular cereal grains, are poor sources of key mineral nutrients. As a result, the world’s poorest people, generally those subsisting on a monotonous cereal diet, are also those most vulnerable to mineral deficiency diseases. Various strategies have been proposed to deal with micronutrient deficiencies including the provision of mineral supplements, the fortification of processed food, the biofortification of crop plants at source with mineral-rich fertilizers and the implementation of breeding programs and genetic engineering approaches to generate mineral-rich varieties of staple crops. This review provides a critical comparison of the strategies that have been developed to address deficiencies in five key mineral nutrients—iodine, iron, zinc, calcium and selenium—and discusses the most recent advances in genetic engineering to increase mineral levels and bioavailability in our most important staple food crops.


Mineral Malnutrition Supplement Fortification Biofortification Poverty 



S.G.-G. is recipient of a fellowship from the Catalan Regional Government (DIUE and “Fons Social Europeu 2008FIC 00196) Spain. T.C. is supported by the Ramon y Cajal (RyC) program, Spain. PC is grateful for financial support to the Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain (Grant number BFU2007-61413) and to the European Research Council for advanced grant, BIOFORCE.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Gómez-Galera
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eduard Rojas
    • 1
  • Duraialagaraja Sudhakar
    • 2
  • Changfu Zhu
    • 1
  • Ana M. Pelacho
    • 3
  • Teresa Capell
    • 1
  • Paul Christou
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Vegetal Production and Forestry Science, ETSEAUniversity of LleidaLleidaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Centre for Plant Molecular BiologyTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia
  3. 3.Department of Hortofruticulture, Botany and Gardening, ETSEAUniversity of LleidaLleidaSpain
  4. 4.Institució Catalana de Reserca i Estudis AvançatsBarcelonaSpain

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