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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Calcium biofortification of crops

item Hirschi, Kendal
item Thompson, Sean

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2011
Publication Date: 12/5/2011
Citation: Hirschi, K.D., Thompson, S.M. 2011. Calcium biofortification of crops. In: Bidlack, R.L., Rodriguez, W.A., editors. Nutritional Genomics: The Impact of Dietary Regulation of Gene Function on Human Disease. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. p. 317-330.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: More than half of the world's population is deficient in calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), iodine (I), magnesium (Mg), selenium (Se), or zinc (Zn). The consumption of plants, directly or via livestock, containing inadequate concentrations of particular minerals causes these deficiencies. Agronomic and genetic strategies can increase the delivery of bioavailable minerals. Although the focus is predominately on Ca, the framework discussed here should be generally applicable to boosting the levels of other elements in agriculturally important crops. A recent panel of the world's foremost economists deemed plant biofortification, the process of increasing the bioavailable concentration of an element in foods, as one of the pre-eminent global challenges ( Furthermore, the economists predicted tremendous benefits compared to costs associated with developing this technology. Indeed, genome projects are providing novel approaches for identifying plant genes of nutritional importance. The term "nutritional genomics" has been coined to describe this work at the interface of plant genomics and human nutrition. However, work done to measure the nutrient value of these engineered plant foods to date is minimal.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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