Seed News: Researchers Find Key to Zinc Rich Crop Seeds

The diet in many developing countries is lacking zinc, but researchers have just solved the riddle of how to get more zinc into crop seeds. The discovery has been published in Nature Plants. This research was led by University of Copenhagen.

A milestone has been reached in the research of zinc loading in crop seeds with large potential benefits to people in the developing world. A team of scientists, from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at University of Copenhagen, led by Professor Michael Broberg Palmgren, has just published an article about their findings in Nature Plants, which might well lead the way to growing crops with more zinc accumulated in the seeds.

He explain that, “We have identified the specific system of transport in the plant cells responsible for delivering zinc into the seeds. That knowledge unveils the path to breeding plants with enhanced activity of this particular transport system resulting in more zinc rich seeds.”

Michael Broberg Palmgren explains, since Biologists have yet to discover any type of crop that does not have a variant of these so-called zinc pumps, this until now seemingly unnoticed mechanism can improve the nutritional value of a large part of the human diet. Meaning, that if you can breed a variant of rye with enhanced zinc loading in the seeds, in all likelihood it will be possible to do the same with wheat, barley, rice and so on. An Arabidopsis seed separated in seed and cress ready for zinc analysis.

From the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Postdoc and first author on the published article, Lene Irene Olsen, described the origin and progress of the study.

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