Iron deficiency is one of the main reasons for nutritional disorders across the globe. Low availability and intake of iron are causing severe health issues and many people are prone to anaemia. This deficiency is a public health concern and requires strong collaboration between various researchers, students, scientists, governmental bodies, and NGOs. Supplementation is never a recommended approach as everyone is not able to afford expensive supplements. Moreover, these nutritional supplements are not safe for everyone and may have some kind of associated health risks and concerns.
Biofortification vs Supplementation
Biofortification is a comparatively bearable and sustainable solution to provide micronutrients and vitamins to the human body. It helps to offer all nutrients to human beings without any diversification and diet planning. Biofortification is based on agronomic practices, transgenic techniques, and plant breeding approaches. Scientific studies have also proven that some food constituents can inhibit or flavor the absorption of iron and certain other elements. Successful regulation and management of these constituents can absorb the absorption of these elements.
Significance of Iron Biofortification for Improved Human Health
The importance of iron is well known since ancient times and it is considered an essential element for overall health and wellness. The use of iron was exploited in the 17 century by some communities including Romans, Greeks, Hindus, and Egyptians. By that time, the research was only focused to study the contribution of iron for oxygen transport and haemoglobin genesis. Lower intake and bioavailability of iron is still a major factor in developing countries and privileged nations.
Role of Iron Biofortification for Improved Human Health
Although iron is abundantly present in the earth’s crust it is not directly available for plant and human consumption. So, some technological practices and technical measures are required to improve the bioavailability of iron in the edible portion of plant parts. Iron is a central element in the electron transport chains and is the common element of many essential enzymes. Only a few bacteria can replace iron with other minerals, making it an essential element for almost all life. Iron is also essential for photosynthesis and chlorophyll synthesis in plants.
The availability of iron in the soil determines the distribution of plant species in the natural ecosystem and limits the quality of crop production and nutrition. Inadequate iron intake reduces growth, development and production. Adequate levels of iron in food products are one of the biggest nutritional disorders in the world. Fe uptake and proper use is important in combating iron deficiency condition anaemia. However, too much iron is cytotoxic. Therefore, it is important to control the availability of iron, which is often limited by strategies that increase mobility and limit its absorption when found in variable quantities.
Despite rapid advances in plant nutritional research over the past decade, many aspects of cellular iron balance are still awaiting further clarification. Furthermore, efforts to increase the iron content in edible plant parts are far from significantly improving dietary iron intake. The method of calculating the amount of iron from soil is relatively well understood, while the transportation of iron into chloroplasts and mitochondria has not been studied.
Chloroplasts are loaded with transition minerals and represent the most iron-rich system in plant cells. Research by the Catherine Philipper Group found that ABC transport subunits associated with ATP, ABCI 10 and ABCI 11 are part of a new prokaryotic type, ECF / ABC subunits, which are prokaryotic ABC vectors. Are like the components of a subunit. Metal ion absorption (Van Weinberg et al.) New transporters of iron across the inner mitochondrial membrane have also been identified. Jane It. Arabidopsis MIT1 and MIT2 have been shown to be involved in the importation of iron into mitochondria and are important for mitochondrial function.
Iron Fortification of the Plants
More than 30% of arable land is likely to suffer from iron deficiency. Low iron levels in plants are a major cause of iron deficiency anaemia, one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies worldwide. Bio-iron fertilisation refers to the process of increasing bio-iron in key food ingredients through an agro-economics approach, biotechnology techniques, or traditional plant breeding. Bio-fertilisation is a promising way of dealing with micronutrients that affect nearly a third of the world’s population, especially in resource-scarce environments.
Approaches for Biofortification
Bio-genetics, fertilisation, traditional breeding and genetic engineering, is the matter of significant importance to deal with iron deficiencies. An important determinant of their bioavailability is the distribution of iron in seeds, which can bind tightly to antioxidants such as topical phytates in the same cellular components. To verify if iron can be preserved in baskets that do not contain phytate. Mineral localization in seeds of more than twenty species has been studied using chemo-textile or X-ray techniques. Research has revealed individual seed storage patterns in relation to plants. The authors also note that the iron in rosacea is concentrated in the inner cell layers, endoderm, and cortex. However, iron levels are not determined solely by iron storage protein levels. In addition, the complex interaction between plants and soil in the root zone has a profound effect on the iron content.
Iron Biofortification of Plants
Iron biofortification is a specific process of increasing iron contents in the edible plant portions by using fertilisation, biotechnological, agronomic, and breeding approaches. Biofortification is preferred over supplementation as it is greatly helpful for combating malnutrition due to micronutrient deficiencies.
Cost of Iron Fertilisers
Iron fertilisers are often applied in inefficient ways, are not environmentally friendly, and have higher costs. The use of iron humic complexes is well known to reduce iron deficiency in soil and plants. These substances promote the readily available forms of iron to the plants and directly impact plant physiology and development.
Smart Fertilisers for Improved Bioavailability
Increasing plant growth, development, and production by using modern and smart fertilisers and technologies is a promising solution to combat iron deficiencies in plants. Nano fertilisers are essentially important to improve fertiliser use efficiencies due to their surface area to volume ratio, Brownian motion (all time random movement of particles suspended in any medium), and presence of more reactive sites. The results of numerous scientific studies have also promoted the benefits of using nano fertilisers to improve iron uptake, transportation, translocation, transformation, and bioaccumulation in edible plant parts.
Intercropping for Iron Biofortification
Intercropping of graminaceous plants and fruit trees is also important to improve the low iron contents in the agricultural soils. Intercropping is essentially important for calcifuges species that are specifically adapted to acidic soil conditions. Blueberry is also a calcifuge plant and it suffers from a severe deficiency of iron in alkaline conditions. Its intercropping with Poa pratensis and Festuca rubra with the optimised application of Fe EDDHA is reported to increase fruit load, quality of fruit, and yield. Moreover, it also improves the firmness flesh ratios of the berries.