Assessment of Biofortification Approaches Used to Improve Micronutrient-Dense Plants That Are a Sustainable Solution to Combat Hidden Hunger

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Abstract or Summary

Malnutrition causes diseases, immune system disorders, deterioration in physical growth, mental development, and learning capacity worldwide. Micronutrient deficiency, known as hidden hunger, is a serious global problem. Biofortification is a cost-effective and sustainable agricultural strategy for increasing the concentrations or bioavailability of essential elements in the edible parts of plants, minimizing the risks of toxic metals, and thus reducing malnutrition. It has the advantage of delivering micronutrient-dense food crops to a large part of the global population, especially poor populations. Agronomic biofortification and biofertilization, traditional plant breeding, and optimized fertilizer applications are more globally accepted methods today; however, genetic biofortification based on genetic engineering such as increasing or manipulating (such as CRISPR-Cas9) the expression of genes that affect the regulation of metal homeostasis and carrier proteins that serve to increase the micronutrient content for higher nutrient concentration and greater productivity or that affect bioavailability is also seen as a promising high-potential strategy in solving this micronutrient deficiency problem. Data that micronutrients can help strengthen the immune system against the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases has highlighted the importance of tackling micronutrient deficiencies. In this study, biofortification approaches such as plant breeding, agronomic techniques, microbial fertilization, and some genetic and nanotechnological methods used in the fight against micronutrient deficiency worldwide were compiled.

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