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      Zinc-enriched fertilisers as a potential public health intervention in Africa

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          Zinc in plants.

          Zinc (Zn) is an essential component of thousands of proteins in plants, although it is toxic in excess. In this review, the dominant fluxes of Zn in the soil-root-shoot continuum are described, including Zn inputs to soils, the plant availability of soluble Zn(2+) at the root surface, and plant uptake and accumulation of Zn. Knowledge of these fluxes can inform agronomic and genetic strategies to address the widespread problem of Zn-limited crop growth. Substantial within-species genetic variation in Zn composition is being used to alleviate human dietary Zn deficiencies through biofortification. Intriguingly, a meta-analysis of data from an extensive literature survey indicates that a small proportion of the genetic variation in shoot Zn concentration can be attributed to evolutionary processes whose effects manifest above the family level. Remarkable insights into the evolutionary potential of plants to respond to elevated soil Zn have recently been made through detailed anatomical, physiological, chemical, genetic and molecular characterizations of the brassicaceous Zn hyperaccumulators Thlaspi caerulescens and Arabidopsis halleri.
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            Estimating the Global Prevalence of Zinc Deficiency: Results Based on Zinc Availability in National Food Supplies and the Prevalence of Stunting

            Background Adequate zinc nutrition is essential for adequate growth, immunocompetence and neurobehavioral development, but limited information on population zinc status hinders the expansion of interventions to control zinc deficiency. The present analyses were conducted to: (1) estimate the country-specific prevalence of inadequate zinc intake; and (2) investigate relationships between country-specific estimated prevalence of dietary zinc inadequacy and dietary patterns and stunting prevalence. Methodology and Principal Findings National food balance sheet data were obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Country-specific estimated prevalence of inadequate zinc intake were calculated based on the estimated absorbable zinc content of the national food supply, International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group estimated physiological requirements for absorbed zinc, and demographic data obtained from United Nations estimates. Stunting data were obtained from a recent systematic analysis based on World Health Organization growth standards. An estimated 17.3% of the world’s population is at risk of inadequate zinc intake. Country-specific estimated prevalence of inadequate zinc intake was negatively correlated with the total energy and zinc contents of the national food supply and the percent of zinc obtained from animal source foods, and positively correlated with the phytate: zinc molar ratio of the food supply. The estimated prevalence of inadequate zinc intake was correlated with the prevalence of stunting (low height-for-age) in children under five years of age (r = 0.48, P<0.001). Conclusions and Significance These results, which indicate that inadequate dietary zinc intake may be fairly common, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, allow inter-country comparisons regarding the relative likelihood of zinc deficiency as a public health problem. Data from these analyses should be used to determine the need for direct biochemical and dietary assessments of population zinc status, as part of nationally representative nutritional surveys targeting countries estimated to be at high risk.
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              Biofortification—A Sustainable Agricultural Strategy for Reducing Micronutrient Malnutrition in the Global South

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Plant and Soil
                Plant Soil
                Springer Nature
                0032-079X
                1573-5036
                April 2015
                March 2015
                : 389
                : 1-2
                : 1-24
                Article
                10.1007/s11104-015-2430-8
                5c2f5acb-7a05-4c40-99c4-c68dafc5f9d5
                © 2015
                History

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