Zinc (Zn) is an exceptional micronutrient regarding its relevance in biological systems because it is the only trace metal represented in all classes of enzymes (Broadley et al. 2007). A large diversity of essential cellular functions and metabolic pathways are directly influenced by Zn including function and structural stability of proteins, integrity of biological membranes and protection against reactive oxygen species (Cakmak, 2000). Nearly 2800 proteins in biological systems require Zn for their activity and structural stability (Andreini et al. 2009). It is, therefore, not surprising that crop plants show rapid and particular disturbances in growth and development when they are growing on low Zn soils. At least one-third of the cultivated soils globally is estimated to contain too low amounts of bioavailable Zn (Sillanpää and Vlek 1985) for optimal crop production. Low bioavailability of Zn not only reduces plant productivity, it also impairs nutritional quality of the harvested products by lowering Zn density in seeds/grains. These problems in crop production, food quality and human health associated with Zn deficiency and the environmental issues related to Zn were addressed at the 3rd International Zinc Symposium held in Hyderabad, India, 10–14 October, 2011, with 195 participants from 30 countries. The event was jointly organized by the International Zinc Association (IZA), the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), Fertilizer Association of India (FAI) and HarvestPlus. The symposium consisted of 6 sessions devoted to the following topics.