296-6 Agronomic Biofortification of Wheat for Preventing Zinc Malnutrition: Multi-Year, Multi-Location Results from Pakistan.

See more from this Division: C09 Biomedical, Health-Beneficial & Nutritionally Enhanced Plants
See more from this Session: Symposium--Getting Biofortified Foods Onto the Plate
Tuesday, November 4, 2014: 3:00 PM
Renaissance Long Beach, Naples Ballroom I
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Abdul Rashid1, Khalid Mahmood2, Mahmood-ul- Hassan3, Muhammad Rizwan2, Zafar Iqbal3 and Ismail Cakmak4, (1)Pakistan Atomic Energy Commision (PAEC), Islamabad, PAKISTAN
(2)Nuclear Institute for Agriculture & Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad, Pakistan
(3)2Nuclear Institute for Agriculture & Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad, Pakistan
(4)Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey
The alkaline-calcareous soils in Pakistan are conducive to zinc (Zn) deficiency in crop plants. Thus, Zn fertilizer use is recommended for almost all crops, including wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown on >8 million ha. The 2002 and 2011 National Nutrition Surveys have revealed human Zn malnutrition of alarming magnitude: 40% children, 48% pregnant women and 41% non-pregnant women are diagnosed to be Zn-deficient. Zinc malnutrition is confined predominantly to resource-poor segments of the society, whose almost entire calorie source is low-Zn staple cereals (around 25 mg kg-1). As expensive measures, like mineral pills and dietary diversification, are hardly affordable by the resource-poor masses, the only feasible option appears to be enhancement of Zn in staple cereals. Cereal grain Zn concentration can be enhanced by developing Zn-efficient varieties, i.e., by genetic biofortification, or by using Zn fertilizer, i.e., by agronomic biofortification. Pakistan is attempting both the approaches. Currently, three Zn-efficient wheat lines (having upto 37 mg Zn kg-1) are undergoing field evaluation. Agronomic biofortification has also proven effective. In 20082014 multi-location field trials across rice-wheat, cotton-wheat and mixed cropping systems, Zn fertilizer not only has increased wheat yield by 1518% (P<0.05), cost-effectively, but also increased grain Zn concentration upto to 52 mg kg-1 (P<0.05). Foliar sprays of Zn proved more effective in enhancing grain Zn. Also, high-Zn grains proved much better as seed for the next crop by improving germination, seedling vigor and yield (P<0.05). Thus, Zn fertilizer use, especially on Zn-efficient cultivars, can play a vital role in preventing Zn malnutrition.
See more from this Division: C09 Biomedical, Health-Beneficial & Nutritionally Enhanced Plants
See more from this Session: Symposium--Getting Biofortified Foods Onto the Plate