Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 413–428 | Cite as

Improving human micronutrient nutrition through biofortification in the soil–plant system: China as a case study

Original Paper

Abstract

Micronutrient malnutrition is a major health problem in China. According to a national nutritional survey, approximately 24% of all Chinese children suffer from a serious deficiency of iron (Fe) (anemia), while over 50% show a sub-clinical level of zinc (Zn) deficiency. More than 374 million people in China suffer from goiter disease, which is related to iodine (I) deficiency, and approximately 20% of the Chinese population are affected by selenium (Se) deficiency. Micronutrient malnutrition in humans is derived from deficiencies of these elements in soils and foods. In China, approximately 40% of the total land area is deficient in Fe and Zn. Keshan and Kaschin-Beck diseases always appear in regions where the soil content of Se in low. The soil–plant system is instrumental to human nutrition and forms the basis of the “food chain” in which there is micronutrient cycling, resulting in an ecologically sound and sustainable flow of micronutrients. Soil-plant system strategies that have been adopted to improve human micronutrient nutrition mainly include: (1) exploiting micronutrient-dense crop genotypes by studying the physiology and genetics of micronutrient flow from soils to the edible parts of crops; (2) improving micronutrient bioavailability through a better knowledge of the mechanisms of the enhancers’ production and accumulation in edible parts and its regulation through soil-plant system; (3) improving our knowledge of the relationship between the content and bioavailability of micronutrients in soils and those in edible crop products for better human nutrition; (4) developing special micronutrient fertilizers and integrated nutrient management technologies for increasing both the density of the micronutrients in the edible parts of plants and their bioavailability to humans.

Keywords

Biofortification Bioavailability China Fertilizer management Micronutrient malnutrition Plant nutritional strategies 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The financial supports from the HarvestPlus Program (no. 2005HP03), Ministry of Science and Technology of China (no. 2006DA31030), and Education Ministry of China (no. IRT0536) are greatly appreciated.

References

  1. Babik, I., Rumpel, J., Elkner, K., Dias, J. S., Lcrute, I., & Monteiro, A. A. (1996). The influence of nitrogen fertilization on yield, quality and senescence of Brussels sprouts. Acta Horticulturae, 407, 353–359.Google Scholar
  2. Bänziger, M., & Long, J. (2000). The potential for increasing the iron and zinc density of maize through plant-breeding. Food Nutrition Bulletin, 21, 397–400.Google Scholar
  3. Batten, G. D. (1994). Concentrations of elements in wheat grains grown in Australia, North America, and the United Kingdom. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 34, 51–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bouis, H. (1996). Enrichment of food staples through plant breeding: A new strategy for fighting micronutrient malnutrition. Nutrition Reviews, 54, 131–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cababallero, B. (2002) Impact of micronutrient deficiencies on growth: The stunting syndrome. Annuals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 46, 8–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cakmak, I., Kalayci, M., Ekiz, H., Braun, H. J., Kilinc, Y., & Yilmaz, A. (1999). Zinc deficiency as a practical problem in plant and human. Field Crops Research, 60, 175–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camara, F., Barbera, R., Amaro, M. A., & Farre, R. (2006). Calcium, iron, zinc and copper transport and uptake by Caco-2 cells in school meals: Influence of protein and mineral interactions. Food Chemistry, 100, 1085–1092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chavez, A. L., Bedoya, J. M., Iglesias, C., Ceballos, H., Roca, W. (1999). Exploring the genetic potential to improve micronutrient content in cassava, in Improving human nutrition through agriculture: The role of international agricultural research. A workshop hosted by the International Rice Research Institute.Google Scholar
  9. Chavez, A. L., Bedoya, J. M., Iglesias, C., Ceballos, H., & Roca, W. (2000). Iron, carotene, and ascorbic acid in cassava roots and leaves. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 21, 410–413.Google Scholar
  10. Chen, J. S. (2003). Effectiveness of NaFeEDTA fortified soysource on preventing Fe deficiency. Journal of Hygiene Research, 32, 29–38.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, S. M. (Ed.) (2000). Tracking human nutrition of China in the last 10 years. Beijing, China: Hygiene Acad. Press.Google Scholar
  12. Chen ,W. R., Feng, Y., Chao, Y. E., & Yang, X. E. (2007). Genomic analysis and expression pattern of OsZIP1, OsZIP3 and OsZIP4 in rice (Oryza sativa L.) of different varieties with varying zinc efficiency. Plant Soil (in press).Google Scholar
  13. Dainty, J. R. (2001). Use of stable isotopes and mathematical modelling to investigate human mineral metabolism. Nutrition Research Reviews, 14, 295–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eide, D., Broderius, M. F. J., & Guerinot, M. L. (1996). A novel iron-regulated metal transporter from plants identified by functional expression in yeast. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 93, 5624–5628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ETCAEDEC. (1989). The atlas of endemic disease and their environments in the People’s Republic of China. Beijing: Science Presss. ISBN 7-03-001200-3/P* 216.Google Scholar
  16. Fairweather-Tait, S. J., & Dainty, J. (2002). Use of stable isotopes to assess the bioavailability of trace elements: A review. Food Additives and Contaminants, 19, 939–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fawzi, A. F. A., EI-Fouly, M. M., & Moubarak, Z. M. (1993). The need of grain legumes for iron, manganese and zinc fertilization under Egyptian soil conditions: Effect and uptake of metalosates. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 16, 813–823.Google Scholar
  18. Garcia-Casal, M. N., Leets, I., & Layrisse, M. (2000). β-Carotene and inhibitors of iron absorption modify iron uptake by caco-2 cells. Journal of Nutrition, 130, 5–9.Google Scholar
  19. Gargari, B. P., Razavieh, S. V., Mahboob, S., Niknafs, B., & Kooshavar, H. (2006). Effect of retinol on iron bioavailability from Iranian bread in a Caco-2 cell culture model. Nutrition, 22, 638–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ghandilyan, A., Vreugdenhil, D., & Aarts, M. G. M. (2006). Progress in the genetic understanding of plant iron and zinc nutrition. Physiologia Plantarum, 126, 407–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glahn, R. P., Chen, S. Q., Welch, R. M., & Gregorio, G. B. (2002). comparison of iron bioavailability from 15 rice genotypes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 50, 3586–3591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Graham, R. D., Senadhira, C., Beebe, S. E., Iglesias, C., & Monasterio, I. (1999). Breeding for micronutrient density in edible portions of staple food crops:conventional approaches. Field Crops Research, 60, 57–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Graham, R. D., Senadhira, C., Beebe, S. E., & Iglesias, C. (1998). A strategy for breeding staple-food crops with high micronutrient density. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 43, 1153–1157.Google Scholar
  24. Graham, R. D., Welch, R. M., & Bouis, H. E. (2001). Addressing micronutrient malnutrition through enhancing the nutritional quality of staple foods: principles, perspectives and knowledge gaps. Advances in Agronomy, 70, 77–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gregorio, G., Senadhira, D., Htut, H., & Graham, R. D. (2000). Breeding for trace mineral density in rice. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 21, 382–386.Google Scholar
  26. Grotz, N., & Guerinot, M. L. (2006). Molecular aspects of Cu, Fe and Zn homeostasis in plants. Biochemica et Biophysica Acta–Molecular Cell Research, 1763, 595–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haas, J. D., Beard, J. L., Murray-Kolb, L. E., Mundo, A. M. del, Felix, A., & Gregorio, G. B. (2005). Iron-biofortified rice improves the iron stores of nonanemic Filipino women. Journal of Nutrition, 135, 2823–2830.Google Scholar
  28. Hao, H. L., Feng, Y., Huang, Y. Y., Tian, S. K., Lu, L. L., Yang, X. E., & Wei, Y. Z. (2005). Situ analysis of cellular distribution of iron and zinc in rice grain using SRXRF method. High Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics-Chinese Edition, 29, 55–60.Google Scholar
  29. Haslett, B. S., Reid, R. J., & Rengel, Z. (2001). Zinc mobility in wheat: uptake and distribution of zinc applied to leaves or roots. Annals of Botany, 87, 379–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hou, J. S., Yang, X. G., & Chen, J. Sh. (2003). Determination of iron absorption efficiency of fortified NaFeEDTA by human using stable isotopic tracers. Journal of Hygiene Research, 32, 19–24.Google Scholar
  31. Hu, S. F., & Gao, H. (2006). Determination and analysis on whole blood zinc of 632 cases. Journal of Guangdong Micronutrient Science, 13, 34–36.Google Scholar
  32. Hu, Y. X., Qu, C. G., & Yu, J. N. (2003). Zn and Fe fertilizers’ effects on wheat’s output. Chinese Germplasm, 2, 25–28.Google Scholar
  33. Ishimaru, Y., Suzuki, M., Kobayashi, T., Takahashi, M., Nakanishi, H., Mori, S., & Nishizawa, N. K. (2005). OsZIP4, a novel zinc-regulated zinc transporter in rice. Journal of Experimental Botany, 56, 3207–3214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ishimaru, Y., Suzuki, M., Tsukamoto, T., Suzuki, K., Nakazono, M., Kobayashi1, T., Wada, Y., Watanabe, S., Matsuhashi, S., Takahashi, M., Nakanishi, H., Mori, S., & Nishizawa, N. K. (2006). Rice plants take up iron as an Fe3+-phytosiderophore and as Fe2+. Plant Journal, 45, 335–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Korshunova, Y. O., Eide, D., Clark, W. G., Guerinot, M. L., & Pakrasi, H. B. (1999). The IRT1 protein from Arabidopsis thaliana is a metal transporter with a broad substrate range. Plant Molecular Biology, 40, 37–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lao, B. Y. (1999). The element Zn and growth of children. Journal Guangdong Micronutrient Science, 6, 31–33.Google Scholar
  37. Li, J., Xia, J. G., Gong, F. Y., Li, T. X., Zhang, X. Z., & Yang, L. Y. (2005). Effect of selenium application on selenium content and chemical quality of tea. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 19, 104–107.Google Scholar
  38. Li, S. Y., Chen, M. J., & Wu, S. Y. (1995). Survey of zinc deficiency in children of Zhuhai city. Gangdong Trace Elements Science, 3, 30–32.Google Scholar
  39. Li, Z. G., Ye, Z. Q., Fang, Y. Y., & Yang, X. E. (2003a). Effects of Zn supply levels on growth and Zn accumulation and distribution. China Rice Science, 17, 61–66.Google Scholar
  40. Li, Z. Q., Ye, Z. Q., Yang, X. E., & Virmani, V. V. (2003b). Effect of nutrient management at the late growth stage on leaf physiology and grain filling of hybrid rice. Journal of Zhejiang University (Agricultural & Life Science), 29, 265–270.Google Scholar
  41. Liu, Z. (1991). The agricultural chemistry and micronutrients (pp. 93–232). Beijing: Agricultural Publisher of China.Google Scholar
  42. Liu, Z. (1993). Human Nutrition and Social Nutrition (pp. 421–425). Beijing: Light Industrial Publishers of China.Google Scholar
  43. Liu, Z. (1994). The soil zinc distribution in China. Chinese Agricultural Science, 27, 30–37.Google Scholar
  44. Lu, X. Q., Gao, X., & An, X. X. (2000). Exploring bioenrichment seleninum tea beverage. Science and Technology of Food Industry, 21, 29–31.Google Scholar
  45. Lucca, P., Hurrez, R., & Potryheis, I. (2001). Approaches to improving the bioavailability and level of iron in rice seeds. Journal of Science, Food and Agricultural, 81, 828–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Luo, Z. K., Li, Z. X., Liang, Y. C., & Sheng, S. Y. (1995). Determination of Mn, Cu, Zn, and Cr concentrations in hairs of 107 advanced aged persons. Gangdong Trace Elements Science, 2, 22–25.Google Scholar
  47. Ma, T., & Kou, Y. L. (2003). The analysis on the relationship between the content of Zn in hair of children and health. Journal of Guangdong Micronutrient Science, 10, 46–47.Google Scholar
  48. Miller, E. R., & Ullrey, D. E. (1987). The pig as a model for human nutrition. Annual Reviews of Nutrition, 7, 361–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Monasterio, I., & Graham, R. D. (2000). Breeding for trace minerals in wheat. Food Nutrition and Bulletin, 21, 392–396.Google Scholar
  50. Moreno, D. A., Villora, G., & Romero, L. (2003). Variations in fruit micronutrient contents associated with fertilization of cucumber with macronutrients. Scientia Horticulturae, 97, 121–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mori, S. (1997). Reevaluation of the genes induced by iron deficient in barley roots. Plant Nutrition for Sustainable Food Production and Environment (pp. 249–254). The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  52. Mozafar, A. (1993). Nitrogen fertilizers and the amount of vitamins in plants: A review. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 16, 2479–2506.Google Scholar
  53. Mozafar, A. (1994). Plant Vitamins: Agronomic, Physiological, and Nutritional Aspects. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  54. Norvell W, & Wu J. P. (2004). Geospatial distribution of major, trace and rare elements in agriculturally-suited soils of northern North Dakota. Stillwater: USDA-ARS Press.Google Scholar
  55. Oikeh, S. O., Menkir, A., Maziya-Dixon, B., Welch, R. M., & Glahn, R. P. (2003). Assessment of concentrations of iron and zinc and bioavailable iron in grains of early-maturing tropical maize varieties. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51, 3688–3694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Okumura, N., Nishizawa, N. K., & Umehara, Y. (1994). Adiaxygenase (Ids 2) expressed under iron deficiency condition in the roots of Hordeum vulgare. Plant Molecular Biology, 25, 705–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Pinto, A. P., Mota, A. M., & Varennes, A. D. (2004). Influence of organic matter on the uptake of cadmium, zinc, copper and iron by sorghum plants. Science of the Total Environment, 326, 239–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Poletti, S., Gruissen, W., & Sautter, C. (2004). The nutritional fortification of cereals. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 15, 162–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Raboy, V. (2002). Progress in breeding low phytate crops. Journal of Nutrition, 132, 503–505.Google Scholar
  60. Rao, G. D., Wang, B. Y., & Cheng, T. Z. (2001). Analysis on the content of Pb, Zn, Cu, Fe, and Ca in hair of 826 Children. J Guangdong Micronutrient Science, 8, 28–32.Google Scholar
  61. Rengel, Z., Batten, G. D., & Crowley, D. E. (1999). Agronomic approaches for improving the micronutrient density in edible portions of field crops. Field Crops Research, 60, 27–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Revy, R., Jondreville, C., Dourmad, J. Y., & Nys, Y. (2004). Effect of zinc supplemented as either an organic or an inorganic source and of microbial phytase on zinc and other minerals utilization by weanling pigs. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 116, 93–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Robinson, N. J., Procter, C. M., Conolly, E. L., & Guerinot, M. L. (1999). A ferri-chelate reductase for iron uptake from soil. Nature, 397, 694–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Robinson, N. J., Sadijuda, T., & Groom, Q. J. (1997). The froh gene family from Arabidopsis thaliana: Putative iron-chelate reductase. Plant Soil, 196, 245–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Romheld, V., & Schaaf, G. (2005). Iron transportation in plants: Future research in view of a plant nutritionist and a molecular biologist. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 50, 1003–1012.Google Scholar
  66. Schaffer, S., Pallauf, J., & Krawinke, M. B. (2004). Impact of feeding high-iron rice onplasma ron, hemoglobin and red blood cell Variables of early-weaned piglets. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 48, 109–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Senadhira, D., & Graham, R. D. (1999). Genetic variation in iron and zinc concentrations in brown rice. Micronutrient and Agriculture, 3, 4–5.Google Scholar
  68. Shamsuddin, A. M. (1999). Metabolism and cellular functions of IP6: A review. Anticancer Research, 19, 3733–3736.Google Scholar
  69. Sharp, P. (2005). Methods and options for estimating iron and zinc bioavailability using Caco-2 cell models: Benefits and limitations. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 9, 322–330.Google Scholar
  70. Song, J. Y., Zhang, W. Y., Wang, Y. H., & Yin, J. (2005). Studies on technique in producing wheat of enriched selenium. Bulletin China Agronomy, 21, 197–199.Google Scholar
  71. Stahl, C. H., Han, Y. M., Roneker, K. R., House, W. A., & Lei, X. G. (1999). Phytase improves iron bioavailability for hemoglobin synthesis in young pigs. Journal of Animal Science, 77, 2135–2142.Google Scholar
  72. Tan, J. A. (Ed.) (2004). Geological environment and health. Beijing, China: Chemical Industry Press. ISBN 7-5025-5366-5/X·421.Google Scholar
  73. Underwood, B. A., & Smitasiri, S. (1999). Micronutrient malnutrition: policies and programmes for control and their implications. Annual Review of Nutrition, 19, 303–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Vasconceios, M., Datta, K., Khalekuzzaman, M., Torrizo, L. Krishnan, S., Oliveira, M., Goto, F., & Datta, S. K. (2003). Enhanced iron and zinc accumulation with transgenic rice with the ferritin gene. Plant Science, 164, 371–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wang, S. (1999). Analysis on 9 trace elements in 23 kinds of wheat and wheat flour from China and France. Guangdong Trace Elements Science, 6, 56–58.Google Scholar
  76. Welch, R. M. (1986). Effects of nutrient deficiencies on seed production and quality. Advances in Plant Nutr, 2, 205–247.Google Scholar
  77. Welch, R. M. (1995). Micronutrient nutrition of plants. Critical Reviews of Plant Science, 14, 49–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Welch, R. M. (2002). The impact of mineral nutrients in food crops on global human health. Plant Soil, 247, 83–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Welch, R. M., & Graham, R. D. (1999). A new paradigm for world agriculture: Meeting human needs-productive, sustainable, nutritious. Field Crops Research, 60, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Welch, R. M., & Graham, R. D. (2002). Breeding crops for enhanced micronutrient content. Plant Soil, 245, 205–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Welch, R. M., & Graham, R. D. (2004). Breeding for micronutrients in staple food crops from a human nutrition perspective. Journal of Experimental Botany, 55, 353–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. White, J. G., & Zasoski, R. J. (1999). Mapping soil micronutrients. Field Crops Research, 60, 11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wu , J. P., Shen, J., & Zhou, Z. D. (2001). Investigation of hair Fe level of school-age children in Nanchang county. Journal of Guangdong Micronutrient Science, 8, 53–55.Google Scholar
  84. Xiao, Y., Li, Y. T., & Cao, Y. P. (2000). Effects of Fe-fertilizer composition and application methods on the iron chlorosis correction of peanut. Soil and Fertilizer, 5, 21–28.Google Scholar
  85. Yang , X. E., Römheld, V. (1999). Physiological and genetic aspects of micronutrient uptake by higher plants. In Nielsen (Ed.), Genetics and molecular biology of plant nutrition (pp.151–186). Kluwer Acad. Publ.Google Scholar
  86. Yang, X. E., Ye, Z. Q., Shi, C. H., & Graham, H. (1998). Genotypic differences in concentration of iron, manganese, copper, and zinc in rice grain. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 21, 1453–1463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Yang, Y. C., & Guo, W. W. (1995). The analysis of hair Zn in 2283 children. Journal of Guangdong Micronutrient Science, 2, 53–55.Google Scholar
  88. Zhang, J., Wu, L. H., Kong, X. J., Li, Y. S., & Zhao, Y. D. (2006). Effect of foliar application of iron, zinc mixed fertilizers on the content of iron, zinc, soluble sugar and Vitamin C in green pea seeds. Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer Science, 12, 245–249.Google Scholar
  89. Zhang, P. Y., Song, H. B., & Xu, G. L. (1996). Effect of selenium supplement of the red cell immune fuction of patients with Kashin-beck disease. Journal of Xi’an Medical University, 17, 159–162.Google Scholar
  90. Zhu, Y. L., Zhao, G. R., & Yu, Z. X. (1997). The effect of Zn-fertilizer on rice yield. Anhui Agric Science Bulletin, 3, 36–37.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MOE Key Lab, Environmental Remediation and Ecosystem HealthZhejiang UniversityHanghzouChina

Personalised recommendations