Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #237994

Title: Iron biofortification of maize grain

item Hoekenga, Owen
item LUNG'AHO, MERCY - Cornell University - New York
item Kochian, Leon
item Glahn, Raymond

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/3/2009
Publication Date: 3/15/2009
Citation: Hoekenga, O., Lung'Aho, M., Kochian, L.V., Glahn, R.P. 2009. Iron biofortification of maize grain. [abstract]. 51st Annual Maize Genetics Conference.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Mineral nutrient deficiencies are a worldwide problem that is directly correlated with poverty and food insecurity. The most common of these is iron deficiency; more than one-third of the world’s population suffers from iron deficiency-induced anemia, 80% of which are in developing countries. The developed world has made tremendous success in alleviating nutrient deficiencies through dietary diversification, food product fortification, improved public health care, and supplementation. In developing countries, these strategies are often expensive and difficult to sustain. Poverty is the most common cause for dietary deficiency in developing countries, as consumers’ dietary choices are limited as regards the quality, quantity, and diversity of foods consumed. The resource-poor typically consume what they grow and are dependent upon a small number of staple crops for the vast majority of their nutrition. Therefore, genetic improvement of staple crops (biofortification) is the most cost effective and sustainable solution to this global health problem. Here we describe an integrated genetic, physiological and biochemical analysis of iron nutrition in maize grain, to discover the genes and compounds that influence grain iron concentration and bioavailability. Multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) for each trait have been identified and validated. QTL have been isolated in near isogenic lines, which were provided to collaborators in five states for planting in Summer 2008. Progress towards identifying the genetic and environmental factors that determine iron nutritional quality in maize grain will be discussed.