Biofortification

Biofortification refers to the genetic enhancement of key food crops with enhanced nutrients6. It differs from fortification (addition of exogenous nutrients as in iodized salt) by increasing the nutrients of crops at source through agricultural interventions viz., agronomy, breeding and biotechnology. 

Realizing the importance of  crop biofortification in achieving the nutritional security of the nation, ICAR has sanctioned a Consortia Research Platform (CRP) to ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR), during the plan period of 2014-17 for enhancing the nutritional status of major food crops of the country through biofortification approach targeting rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, pearl millet and small millets, involving institutes of ICAR, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), state agricultural universities (SAU) and traditional universities, which has been extended to 2017-2020. With the availability of the genotypes and genes as proof of concept for biofortification and considering the significant progress witnessed in several crops with respect to biofortification, the CRP aims at development of cereals biofortified with enhanced β-carotene, quality protein, iron and zinc.

Objectives 

  • Development of crop genotypes with β-carotene, iron, zinc, protein, folic acid, low phytate, phytase and low gluten through conventional and genetic engineering and their evaluation.
  • Study of bioavailability and biosafety of developed crop genotypes.
  • Gene identification, allele mining and functional genomics for the candidate genes associated with enhanced micronutrient and protein content and reduced phytate content through Next Generation Technologies.
  • Development of value added products for ready to cook and multigrain mixtures suitable for mid-day meal schemes.
  • Socio-Impact studies for assessment of consumer knowledge, preference and preparedness for biofortified products and sensitization and popularization of biofortified products.  

 

Crop

Trait and approach

Institutes

Rice (6)

zinc, protein (conventional approach)

β-carotene, iron, folic acid, low phytate (transgenic approach)

IIRR, IARI, NRRI, IGKV,

TNAU, University of Calcutta

Wheat

(5+4)

Iron, zinc, protein, low phytate, phytase,

IIWBR, IARI-Indore, PAU, CCSHAU, UAS-D

low gluten

NRCPB,AIIMS, IARI, NII

Maize

(6)

Protein, iron, zinc, B-carotene, phytate,

IIMR, IARI, TNAU, CCSHAU, PDP, VPKAS

Sorghum

(3)

Iron, zinc

IIMR, AICSIP-A, AICSIP-R

Pearl Millet (6)

 

Iron, zinc

AICRP-PM, JAU, CCSHAU, SKRAU (RARI), MPKV,  IARI

Small Millets (2)

Iron, zinc

AICRP (SM), MDRF

BIOAVAILABILITY and BIOSAFETY for all above mentioned crops

NIN

Evaluation of value added cereals for animal feeding

NIANP

 

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NIANP/NIN