[permaculture] Fwd: [SANET-MG] Improving the nutritional quality of food crops

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Tue May 10 10:40:29 EDT 2011

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Improving the nutritional quality of food crops
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 10:08:45 -0400
From: Joel Gruver <jgruv at HOTMAIL.COM>

Hello folks,

there are 3 basic strategies for improving the nutritional quality of 
food crops.

cultural practices (e.g.., fertilization, crop rotation, tillage, 
crop breeding (e.g., selection of cultivars with enhanced nutrient 
uptake and partitioning of nutrients to harvested portions of plants)
post harvest management (e.g., crop storage and food preparation 
practices that minimize nutrient losses and potentially increase 
nutrient availability)

There has actually been good research in each of these directions.

Focus on only one dimension (e.g., fertilization with micronutrients) 
may be appropriate in some situations but a more comprehensive approach 
will certainly be more broadly effective.

the following review articles may be of interest:

Philip J. White and Martin R. Broadley. 2005. Biofortifying crops with 
essential mineral elements.  TRENDS in Plant Science Vol.10 No.12

Humans require more than 22 mineral elements, which can all be supplied 
by an appropriate diet. However, the diets of populations subsisting on 
cereals, or inhabiting
regions where soil mineral imbalances occur, often lack Fe, Zn, Ca, Mg, 
Cu, I or Se. Traditional strategies to deliver these minerals to 
susceptible populations have
relied on supplementation or food fortification programs. Unfortunately, 
these interventions have not always been successful. An alternative 
solution is to increase mineral concentrations in edible crops. This is 
termed ‘biofortification’. It can be achieved by mineral fertilization 
or plant breeding. There is considerable genetic variation in crop 
species that can be harnessed for sustainable biofortification 
strategies. Varieties with increased mineral concentrations in their 
edible portions are already available, and new genotypes with higher 
mineral densities are being developed.

Graham, R.D. et al. (2001) Addressing micronutrient malnutrition through
  enhancing the nutritional quality of staple foods: principles,
perspectives and knowledge gaps. Adv. Agron. 70, 77–142 (I have a print
copy that I could scan)


Joel Gruver

School of Agriculture

Western Illinois University

jgruv at hotmail.com

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