Micro Mineral Nutrient Deficiencies in Humans, Animals and Plants and Their Amelioration

  • Rajendra Prasad
  • Published 2012 in
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…


Six micro mineral nutrients (MMNs), namely, Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, B and Mo are common essential nutrients in plants, animals and humans. Of these, the deficiencies of Fe and Zn in humans and that of Zn, Mn and Cu in animals are widespread. About one-third of the world human population, mostly in developing countries, is prone to Fe and Zn malnutrition. The clinical symptoms of Fe deficiency in humans include anaemia, fatigue, dizziness, reduced intellectual progress and reduced work capacity. Clinical symptoms of Zn deficiency in humans include diarrhoea, pneumonia in infants and growth retardation in children. There are two approaches for the amelioration of Fe and Zn deficiency, namely, nutraceutical and biofortification. Nutraceutical approach includes pharmaceutical or dietary Fe/Zn supplementation or diet diversification. Biofortification of cereal grains or other foods can be achieved genetically or agronomically. A number of projects for genetic biofortification of a number of food crops, such as, rice, wheat, maize, cassava and sweet potato etc. are underway globally. So far only two cultivars have become available for cultivation. These are Vitamin A rich orange-flesh sweet potato and Vitamin A and Fe rich ‘Golden Rice’. Agronomic biofortification involves application of micronutrient fertilizers to crops grown on MMN deficient soils. A good success has been achieved with Zn biofortification of rice and wheat in India and of wheat in Turkey. An integrated approach involving human and animal nutrition experts and agricultural scientists (plant breeders and agronomists) is helpful for ameliorating the MMN deficiencies.

DOI: 10.1007/s40011-012-0029-x

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@article{Prasad2012MicroMN, title={Micro Mineral Nutrient Deficiencies in Humans, Animals and Plants and Their Amelioration}, author={Rajendra Prasad}, journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India Section B: Biological Sciences}, year={2012}, volume={82}, pages={225-233} }