Phytate-Free Food Crops: Phytases—The Game Changers for Alleviation of Micronutrient Malnutrition and Improved Nutrition

  • Tanushri KaulEmail author
  • Nitya Meenakshi Raman
  • Murugesh Eswaran
  • Chinreddy Subramanyam Reddy
  • Rashmi Kaul
  • Arul Prakash Thangaraj
  • Jyotsna Bharti
Part of the Concepts and Strategies in Plant Sciences book series (CSPS)


More than half of the world populations are affected by micronutrient malnutrition and one-third of world’s population suffers from anemia and zinc deficiency, particularly in developing countries. Iron and zinc deficiencies are the major health problems worldwide. Populations that depend on legumes and grains as staple food consume diets rich in phytic acid. Inositol hexaphosphate, otherwise known as phytate, represents the major storage form of phosphorus and also contributes to the storage of trace elements in plants. Such a storage reservoir is also attributed to antinutritional activities in monogastric animals and plants by its strong chelation of Fe, Ca, and Zn to form insoluble complexes that cannot be absorbed via diet. This phenomenon contributes to Zn and Fe deficiency. The enzymatic degradation of phytate in the digestive tract or reduction of phytate levels in the food product or grains, when subjected to various processing strategies, has resulted in a varied level of phosphorylation. This uncertainty in rendering comprehensive nutrition enhancement in the population of the developing countries has made researcher lean on gene-editing strategies for alleviation of phytate content. This chapter gives an overview of phytic acid as an unbalanced nutrition provider, evaluation of phytate content, and the use of phytases to enhance micronutritional levels in plants.


Nutrition Food Developing countries Iron Zinc Phytase 



I wish to thank the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) for providing me the necessary funding to accomplish my research work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanushri Kaul
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nitya Meenakshi Raman
    • 1
  • Murugesh Eswaran
    • 1
  • Chinreddy Subramanyam Reddy
    • 1
  • Rashmi Kaul
    • 1
  • Arul Prakash Thangaraj
    • 1
  • Jyotsna Bharti
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutritional Improvement of Crops Group, Plant Molecular Biology DivisionInternational Centre for Genetic Engineering and BiotechnologyNew DelhiIndia

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