Potential impacts of iron biofortification in India. Soc Sci Med

University of Hohenheim, Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences, Inst. 490b, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany.
Social Science & Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 05/2008; 66(8):1797-808. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.01.006
Source: PubMed


Iron deficiency is a widespread nutrition and health problem in developing countries, causing impairments in physical activity and cognitive development, as well as maternal mortality. Although food fortification and supplementation programmes have been effective in some countries, their overall success remains limited. Biofortification, that is, breeding food crops for higher micronutrient content, is a relatively new approach, which has been gaining international attention recently. We propose a methodology for ex ante impact assessment of iron biofortification, building on a disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) framework. This methodology is applied in an Indian context. Using a large and representative data set of household food consumption, the likely effects of iron-rich rice and wheat varieties are simulated for different target groups and regions. These varieties, which are being developed by an international public research consortium, based on conventional breeding techniques, might be ready for local distribution within the next couple of years. The results indicate sizeable potential health benefits. Depending on the underlying assumptions, the disease burden associated with iron deficiency could be reduced by 19-58%. Due to the relatively low institutional cost to reach the target population, the expected cost-effectiveness of iron biofortification compares favourably with other micronutrient interventions. Nonetheless, biofortification should not be seen as a substitute for other interventions. Each approach has its particular strengths, so they complement one another.

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    • "Rice is one of the most important cereal crop in the world, supplying a staple source of energy, protein and other nutrients to half of the world population. About 8.20 billion people in developing countries are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies, of which about 2 billion people are suffering from iron deficiency (Stein et al., 2008). Iron is an essential nutrient for humans, and must be available in the diet for proper growth and development. "
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    ABSTRACT: Iron is an essential micronutrient for human nutrition and polished rice contains very low amount of iron. Rice with high iron content in seed endosperm has been developed by insertion of soybean ferritin gene under the control of the endosperm specific glutelin promoter into the genome of indica rice line IR68144. The nutritional composition of the brown and milled rice grain has been compared with that of the non-transgenic rice of the same variety. In this study, the nutritional components, as well as the anti-nutrient levels, were measured. Our studies established that apart from the increased level of iron and zinc in transgenic seeds, the nutritional quality of both the brown and milled rice grains from the transgenic line was substantially equivalent to that of the non-transgenic rice plants. The result clearly shows that the measured amounts of the nutritional components are well within the range of values reported for other commercial lines.
    Food Chemistry 06/2013; 138(2-3):835-40. DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.11.065 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    • "Whereas with conventional breeding this reflects the long development phase, in the case of genetic engineering this reflects the current uncertain regulatory environment, particularly trade barriers and differences in national regulatory systems that inhibit the production, transport and use of transgenic products (Ramessar et al. 2008a, 2008b). Trade barriers for transgenic crops have been erected in the EU because of the precautionary approach the regulators have chosen to follow, so developing countries (such as China and India) are pressured to not grow such products for export although they may still benefit the domestic population by improving health and wealth (FAO 2000; Buois et al. 2003; Campos-Bowers and Wittenmyer 2007; Christou and Twyman 2004; Stein et al. 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Staple food crops, in particular cereal grains, are poor sources of key mineral nutrients. As a result, the world's poorest people, generally those subsisting on a monotonous cereal diet, are also those most vulnerable to mineral deficiency diseases. Various strategies have been proposed to deal with micronutrient deficiencies including the provision of mineral supplements, the fortification of processed food, the biofortification of crop plants at source with mineral-rich fertilizers and the implementation of breeding programs and genetic engineering approaches to generate mineral-rich varieties of staple crops. This review provides a critical comparison of the strategies that have been developed to address deficiencies in five key mineral nutrients-iodine, iron, zinc, calcium and selenium-and discusses the most recent advances in genetic engineering to increase mineral levels and bioavailability in our most important staple food crops.
    Transgenic Research 09/2009; 19(2):165-80. DOI:10.1007/s11248-009-9311-y · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cereal plants take up iron from the soil via a phytosiderophore-mediated chelation system. Following root absorption, iron is transported through the xylem and phloem of the plant with the help of a variety of efflux and influx transporters belonging to the Zrt Irt-like protein (ZIP) and yellow stripe-like (YSL) protein families. Iron-regulated transporter1, a member of the ZIP family, mobilises ferrous [Fe(II)] ions, while several YSL family members such as YSL2, YSL15 and YSL18 can transport both ferric [Fe(II)] and ferrous [F`III)] ions into developing grains via chelation with mugineic acid or its derivatives. The iron is accumulated largely in the outer aleurone layer and embryo of the grains, which are removed during milling, leaving behind consumable endosperm that contains a very low amount of iron. This review highlights the uptake, transport and loading mechanisms for iron in cereal grains and provides an overview of strategies adopted for developing highly iron-enriched grains.
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