Zinc biofortification of cereals: problems and solutions

Trends Plant Sci. 2008 Sep;13(9):464-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Aug 11.


The goal of biofortification is to develop plants that have an increased content of bioavailable nutrients in their edible parts. Cereals serve as the main staple food for a large proportion of the world population but have the shortcoming, from a nutrition perspective, of being low in zinc and other essential nutrients. Major bottlenecks in plant biofortification appear to be the root-shoot barrier and--in cereals--the process of grain filling. New findings demonstrate that the root-shoot distribution of zinc is controlled mainly by heavy metal transporting P1B-ATPases and the metal tolerance protein (MTP) family. A greater understanding of zinc transport is important to improve crop quality and also to help alleviate accumulation of any toxic metals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / metabolism
  • Edible Grain / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism*
  • Seeds / metabolism*
  • Xylem / metabolism
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Cadmium
  • Zinc