Bio-fortification and Its Impact on Global Health

Ashoka P.

Agricultural Research Station, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Hanumanmatti(p), Ranebennur(tq), Haveri District–581 115, Karanataka State, India.


Department of Home Science (Food and Nutrition), RGWPG College, India.

B. Spandana

All India Coordinated Research Project on Women in Agriculture, Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

D. R. K. Saikanth

SRF, ICAR-ATARI, ZONE-X Hyderabad, India.

Amit Kesarwani

Department of Agronomy, College of Agriculture, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, India.

Monika Nain

Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India.

Shivam Kumar Pandey

Rashtriya Raksha University, India.

Bal Veer Singh *

Department of Agronomy, Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur Uttar Pradesh, India.

C. L. Maurya

Department of Seed Science and Technology Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Biofortification, the process of increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through plant breeding, agronomic practices, or biotechnology, is being increasingly recognized as a cost-effective and sustainable strategy to address micronutrient malnutrition globally. This comprehensive review provides an in-depth analysis of the role of biofortification in improving global health, with a particular focus on its impact on micronutrient deficiencies, public health, and socioeconomic aspects, along with the challenges and opportunities it presents. The review is timely and relevant, given the persistent challenge of micronutrient malnutrition and the growing interest in sustainable nutrition strategies. It addresses gaps in the current understanding by synthesizing the latest research on various aspects of biofortification and providing insights into its potential and challenges. Biofortification encompasses various methods, from traditional breeding to modern biotechnological approaches. Numerous successful examples of biofortified crops, like Golden Rice and High Iron Beans, underscore its potential. These crops have been demonstrated to contribute significantly to reducing deficiencies of essential micronutrients like iron, vitamin A, and zinc, thereby positively influencing public health outcomes. The review also explores the wider impact of biofortification, including its economic benefits and influence on food security and farmer livelihoods. Acceptance by farmers and consumers and the sociocultural context are highlighted as crucial factors for the successful implementation of biofortification initiatives. Biofortification faces several challenges, ranging from technical issues in the biofortification process, including genetic limitations and bioavailability concerns, to political and regulatory hurdles. Additionally, the environmental impact and sustainability of biofortified crops are critical considerations. Despite these challenges, opportunities exist for future research and development, such as expanding the scope of biofortification, harnessing advanced breeding techniques, and integrating biofortification with other nutrition strategies.

Keywords: Biofortification, malnutrition, biotechnology, sustainability, micronutrients

How to Cite

Ashoka P., Sangeeta, B. Spandana, D. R. K. Saikanth, Amit Kesarwani, Monika Nain, Shivam Kumar Pandey, Bal Veer Singh, and C. L. Maurya. 2023. “Bio-Fortification and Its Impact on Global Health”. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International 45 (10):106-15.


Download data is not yet available.


Kickbusch I, Berger C. Global health diplomacy. In Routledge Handbook of Global Public Health. 2010;275-281 Routledge.

Jogerst K, Callender B, Adams V, Evert J, Fields E, Hall T, Wilson LL. Identifying interprofessional global health competencies for 21st-century health professionals. Annals of global health. 2015;81(2):239-247.

World Health Organization. Integrating neglected tropical diseases into global health and development: fourth WHO report on neglected tropical diseases. World Health Organization; 2017.

Cederholm T, Bosaeus I, Barazzoni R, Bauer J, Van Gossum A, Klek S, Singer P. Diagnostic criteria for malnutrition–an ESPEN consensus statement. Clinical nutrition. 2015;34(3):335-340.

Ntenda PAM. Association of low birth weight with undernutrition in preschool-aged children in Malawi. Nutrition Journal. 2019;18(1):1-15.

Arora NK, Mishra I. Current scenario and future directions for sustainable development goal 2: A roadmap to zero hunger. Environmental Sustainability. 2022;5(2):129-133.

Muthayya S, Rah JH, Sugimoto JD, Roos FF, Kraemer K, Black RE. The global hidden hunger indices and maps: An advocacy tool for action. PloS one. 2013;8(6):e67860.

Saltzman A, Birol E, Oparinde A, Andersson MS, Asare‐Marfo D, Diressie MT, Zeller M. Availability, production, and consumption of crops biofortified by plant breeding: current evidence and future potential. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2017;1390(1): 104-114.

Mayer JE, Pfeiffer WH, Beyer P. Biofortified crops to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition. Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 2008;11(2):166-170.

DellaPenna D. Nutritional genomics: Manipulating plant micronutrients to improve human health. Science. 1999; 285(5426):375-379.

Pazhanisamy S. Digital Farming: Prospects and Obstacles in India. Eco-Friendly Pest Management Strategies For Major Vegetable Crops; 2022.

Majumder S, Datta K, Datta SK. Rice biofortification: High iron, zinc, and vitamin-A to fight against “hidden hunger”. Agronomy. 2019;9(12):803.

Saltzman A, Birol E, Oparinde A, Andersson MS, Asare‐Marfo D, Diressie MT, Zeller M. Availability, production, and consumption of crops biofortified by plant breeding: Current evidence and future potential. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2017;1390(1): 104-114.

Simpson JL, Bailey LB, Pietrzik K, Shane B, Holzgreve W. Micronutrients and women of reproductive potential: Required dietary intake and consequences of dietary deficienty or excess. Part II-Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Essential Fatty Acids. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. 2011;24(1):1-24.

Yadav DN, Bansal S, Tushir S, Kaur J, Sharma K. Advantage of biofortification over fortification technologies. In Wheat and barley grain biofortification. 2020;257-273. Woodhead Publishing.

García-Bañuelos ML, Sida-Arreola JP, Sánchez E. Biofortification-promising approach to increasing the content of iron and zinc in staple food crops. Journal of Elementology. 2014;19(3).

Oladosu Y, Rafii MY, Abdullah N, Hussin G, Ramli A, Rahim HA, Usman M. Principle and application of plant mutagenesis in crop improvement: A review. Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment. 2016;30(1):1-16.

Younas A, Sadaqat HA, Kashif M, Ahmed N, Farooq M. Combining ability and heterosis for grain iron biofortification in bread wheat. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2020;100(4):1570-1576.

De Valença AW, Bake A, Brouwer ID, Giller KE. Agronomic biofortification of crops to fight hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Global food security. 2017;12:8-14.

Gonzali S, Kiferle C, Perata P. Iodine biofortification of crops: Agronomic biofortification, metabolic engineering and iodine bioavailability. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 2017;44: 16-26.

Greedy D. Golden Rice is safe to eat, says FDA. Nat. Biotechnol. 2018;36(7):559.

Langyan S, Yadava P, Khan FN, Bhardwaj R, Tripathi K, Bhardwaj V, Kumar A. Nutritional and food composition survey of major pulses toward healthy, sustainable, and biofortified diets. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 2022; 6:878269.

Wakeel A, Farooq M, Bashir K, Ozturk L. Micronutrient malnutrition and biofortification: Recent advances and future perspectives. Plant micronutrient use efficiency. 2018;225-243.

Simkin AJ. Genetic engineering for global food security: Photosynthesis and biofortification. Plants. 2019;8(12):586.

Rehman AU, Masood S, Khan NU, Abbasi ME, Hussain Z, Ali I. Molecular basis of Iron Biofortification in crop plants; A step towards sustainability. Plant Breeding, 2021;140(1): 12-22.

Qaim M, Stein AJ, Meenakshi JV. Economics of biofortification. Agricultural Economics. 2007;37:119-133.

Mayer JE, Pfeiffer WH, Beyer P. Biofortified crops to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition. Current opinion in plant biology. 2008;11(2):166-170.

Titcomb TJ, Tanumihardjo SA. Global concerns with B vitamin statuses: Biofortification, fortification, hidden hunger, interactions, and toxicity. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 2019;18(6):1968-1984.

Black R. Micronutrient deficiency: An underlying cause of morbidity and mortality. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2003;81(2):79-79.

Caulfield LE, Black RE. Zinc deficiency. Comparative quantification of health risks: Global and regional burden of disease attributable to selected major risk factors. 2004;1:257-280.

Baltussen R, Knai C, Sharan M. Iron fortification and iron supplementation are cost-effective interventions to reduce iron deficiency in four subregions of the world. The Journal of nutrition. 2004;134(10):2678-2684.

Pasricha SR, Drakesmith H, Black J, Hipgrave D, Biggs BA. Control of iron deficiency anemia in low-and middle-income countries. Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology 2013; 121(14):2607-2617.

Pasricha SR, Biggs BA. Undernutrition among children in South and South‐East Asia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. 2010;46(9):497-503.

Sakellariou M, Mylona PV. New uses for traditional crops: The case of barley biofortification. Agronomy. 2020;10(12): 1964.

Oladosu Y, Rafii MY, Abdullah N, Hussin G, Ramli A, Rahim HA, Usman M. Principle and application of plant mutagenesis in crop improvement: A review. Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment. 2016;30(1):1-16.

Oltenacu PA, Broom DM. The impact of genetic selection for increased milk yield on the welfare of dairy cows. Animal welfare. 2010;19(S1):39-49.

Ortiz-Monasterio JI, Palacios-Rojas N, Meng E, Pixley K, Trethowan R, Pena RJ. Enhancing the mineral and vitamin content of wheat and maize through plant breeding. Journal of Cereal Science. 2007;46(3):293-307.

Chowdhury S, Meenakshi JV, Tomlins KI, Owori C. Are consumers in developing countries willing to pay more for micronutrient‐dense biofortified foods? Evidence from a field experiment in Uganda. American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 2011;93(1):83-97.

Lassoued R, Macall DM, Hesseln H, Phillips PW, Smyth SJ. Benefits of genome-edited crops: Expert opinion. Transgenic research. 2019;28(2):247-256.

Kumar K, Gambhir G, Dass A, Tripathi AK, Singh A, Jha AK, Rakshit S. Genetically modified crops: Current status and future prospects. Planta. 2020;251:1-27.

Fiaz S, Ahmad S, Noor MA, Wang X, Younas A, Riaz A, Ali F. Applications of the CRISPR/Cas9 system for rice grain quality improvement: Perspectives and opportunities. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences. 2019;20(4):888.

Dahlstrom MF, Wang Z, Lindberg S, Opfer K, Cummings CL. The media’s taste for gene-edited food: Comparing media portrayals within US and European regulatory environments. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 01622439221108537; 2022.

Turnbull C, Lillemo M, Hvoslef-Eide TA. Global regulation of genetically modified crops amid the gene edited crop boom–a review. Frontiers in Plant Science. 2021;12:630396.

Buu M. Golden Rice: Genetically Modified to Reduce Vitamin A Deficiency. Benefit or Hazard?. Nutrition Bytes; 2003;9(2).

Junqueira-Franco MVM, de Oliveira JED, Nutti MR, Pereira HS, de Carvalho JLV, Abrams, SA, Marchini JS. Iron absorption from beans with different contents of iron, evaluated by stable isotopes. Clinical nutrition ESPEN. 2018;25:121-125.

Balk J, Connorton JM, Wan Y, Lovegrove A, Moore KL, Uauy C, Shewry PR. Improving wheat as a source of iron and zinc for global nutrition. Nutrition Bulletin. 2019;44(1):53-59.

Tatala S, Svanberg U, Mduma B. Low dietary iron availability is a major cause of anemia: A nutrition survey in the Lindi District of Tanzania. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 1998;68(1):171-178.

Tanumihardjo SA, Palacios N, Pixley KV. Provitamin A carotenoid bioavailability: What really matters?. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 2010;80(4):336.

Zimmermann R, Qaim M. Potential health benefits of Golden Rice: A Philippine case study. Food Policy. 2004;29(2):147-168.

Prasad AS. Discovery of human zinc deficiency: 50 years later. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. 2012;26(2-3):66-69.

Stoltzfus RJ. Iron interventions for women and children in low-income countries. The Journal of nutrition. 2011;141(4):756S-762S.

Gupta S, Brazier AKM, Lowe NM. Zinc deficiency in low‐and middle‐income countries: Prevalence and approaches for mitigation. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2020;33(5):624-643.

Van Der Straeten D, Bhullar NK, De Steur H, Gruissem W, MacKenzie D, Pfeiffer W, Bouis H. Multiplying the efficiency and impact of biofortification through metabolic engineering. Nature Communications. 2020;11(1):5203.

Murphy K, Lammer D, Lyon S, Carter B, Jones SS. Breeding for organic and low-input farming systems: An evolutionary–participatory breeding method for inbred cereal grains. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 2005;20(1):48-55.

Shiferaw B, Prasanna BM, Hellin J, Bänziger M. Crops that feed the world 6. Past successes and future challenges to the role played by maize in global food security. Food security. 2011;3:307-327.

Snell‐Rood E, Cothran R, Espeset A, Jeyasingh P, Hobbie S, Morehouse NI. Life‐history evolution in the anthropocene: Effects of increasing nutrients on traits and trade‐offs. Evolutionary applications. 2015;8(7):635-649.

De Steur H, Gellynck X, Blancquaert D, Lambert W, Van Der Straeten D, Qaim M. Potential impact and cost-effectiveness of multi-biofortified rice in China. New Biotechnology. 2012;29(3):432-442.

Bertola M, Ferrarini A, Visioli G. Improvement of soil microbial diversity through sustainable agricultural practices and its evaluation by-omics approaches: A perspective for the environment, food quality and human safety. Microorganisms. 2021;9(7):1400.

Garcia‐Casal MN, Peña‐Rosas JP, Giyose B, Consultation Working Groups. Staple crops biofortified with increased vitamins and minerals: Considerations for a public health strategy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2017;1390(1):3-13.

Sharma P, Aggarwal P, Kaur A. Biofortification: A new approach to eradicate hidden hunger. Food Reviews International. 2017;33(1):1-21.