Biofortification of Maize for Protein Quality and Provitamin-A Content

  • Firoz Hossain
  • Vignesh Muthusamy
  • Rajkumar U. Zunjare
  • Hari S. GuptaEmail author
Part of the Concepts and Strategies in Plant Sciences book series (CSPS)


Protein and micronutrient deficiency have emerged as the major public health problems in under-developed as well as developing countries. Of the several approaches used to alleviate malnutrition, biofortification has turned out to be the most effective and sustainable approach for providing micronutrients in natural forms. Marker-assisted selection (MAS) is an effective strategy to introgress trait(s) especially controlled by recessive gene(s). Maize is an important cereal extensively used as food and feed around the world. The nutritive value of maize, however, remains relatively poor on account of low quality of protein and lower level of micronutrients like provitamin-A. Research initiatives during the past three decades have culminated in the development of quality protein maize (QPM) that possesses nearly double the quantity of lysine and tryptophan, which helps in enhancing the biological value of QPM protein as compared to normal maize. QPM although contains better quality of protein; yet the quantity of provitamin-A is very low (<2 ppm). The current chapter presents an overview of the research work undertaken to enhance the quality of protein in maize grains on the one hand and the level of provitamin-A on the other. Two genes viz. lycopene ε-cyclase (lcyE) and β-carotene hydroxylase1 (crtRB1) play a significant role in enhancing provitamin-A. Favourable alleles of crtRB1 and lcyE gene(s) were introgressed in commercial hybrids using MAS. The resultant hybrids were found to contain 4.5-fold more provitamin-A as compared to original hybrids. Stability of provitamin-A in QPM as well as normal maize and possible impact of these multi-nutrient hybrids in reducing protein and vitamin-A deficiency have also been discussed.


Biofortification Marker-assisted selection Maize Quality protein maize Provitamin-A 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Firoz Hossain
    • 1
  • Vignesh Muthusamy
    • 1
  • Rajkumar U. Zunjare
    • 1
  • Hari S. Gupta
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research InstituteNew DelhiIndia

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