Control of Zinc Deficiency in humans through Zinc Fortified wheat variety (Zincol)

The population of the developing countries like the Pakistan is increasing more rapidly than the average growth rate 1.8% of world’s population (Population Division, 2009). The increasing food demands in the developing countries need another food revolution (Huang et al., 2002). Almost 65% of the world is total population is starving for food and its proportion more in poor countries of the world (Food Security Statistics, 2008).

At the present scenario along with the food security, Malnutrition is becoming an important problem in the areas where improper food supply and lack of the diversification in the foods. Micronutrients deficiency has directly concern with Malnutrition.

According to World Health Organization the deficiency of the Zinc, iron and vitamin in human population is more in the developing countries of the world. Deficiency of Zinc in humans is Causes five major diseases and also causes death (WHO, 2002).

There are 2.7 billion people suffer from zinc deficiency in the world (WHO, 2002; Muller and Krawinkel, 2005). In future according to experts about more than 50% population of the world is under the risk of zinc deficiency and it is more in the poor countries of the Asia and Africa.

population at Risk

In Pakistan the deficiency of Zinc is at the alarming stage, almost every third children is suffer from zinc deficiency and about more than 40% of the mothers are suffering from deficiency of Zinc Bhutta et al. (2007).

In the developing countries of Africa and Asia, mostly people depended upon the cereals for food and there is almost no diversification in food. Requirement of zinc is differ with respect to gender and growth period for example a women require 10 mg Zn d−1 and an adult man require 12 mg Zn d−1 for their proper growth and development. But their requirements cannot be fulfilled due to the lack of diversification in food habits and depended upon the cereals which are low in the Zinc% (Bouis and Welch, 2010).Pregnant women require more zinc almost 14 mg Zn d−1 during their pregnancy and also throughout their lactation period.

In most of the countries zinc deficiency occurs because people of these countries are eating cereals like the wheat and rice for example in Pakistan, India, Iran and China, wheat and rice are grown on the soils having low zinc status and the grains of the crops provide too less concentration of Zinc to fulfill the human requirements (Alloway, 2008: IZA, 2009).

Bio fortification is only and single option to tackle the issue of Zinc deficiency among the population of the developing countries and from all over the world. Wheat is the staple food of the areas where the Zinc deficiency is present so the zinc fortified wheat is the best option to overcome of this problem (FAO Database, 2005; Seleiman et al., 2010).

The Common verities of wheat are unable to get the enough Zinc form the alkaline calcareous soils and semiarid conditions to meet their own proper growth and development (IZA, 2009). So the less availability of the zinc responsible for the low grain yields low concentration of zinc and causing the zinc deficiency in the humans.

A common wheat grains have 25-30 μg Zn g−1 dry weight. It is necessary for to cover the zinc requirements from the grains of wheat it should be more >50 μg Zn g−1 dry weight of grains of wheat (Cakmak, 2008).


Zincol is the Zn fortified variety of wheat growing in the Pakistan, which has the more zinc concentration in their grains, leaves and stem also than the local/ common wheat varieties. It has almost 3-5 times more Zinc concentration in their grains with the almost equal yield of grains as like local varieties of wheat. Zincol is the genetically Zinc fortified variety which is more efficient to uptake the zinc from the soil and also the translocation of the zinc within the plant into the grains. Through growing the Zn fortified varieties like the zincol in all over the world and eating the grains obtained from these types of varieties, we can inhabit the zinc deficiency in all over the world.  So we can protect our self, our children and our future generation through invading the practice of growing the fortified varieties into our traditional agricultural cropping system.


Alloway, B. J. 2008. Zinc in Soils and Crop Nutrition, 2nd edition. IZA Brussels, Belgium and IFA Paris, France.

Bhutta, Z. A., A. Jiwani, A. Feroze, N. Kissana and I. O. Monasterio. 2007. Assessment of human zinc deficiency and determinants in Pakistan: Implications for interventions. In: Proceeding of International Zinc Association conference ‘Zinc Crops 2007 – Improving Crop Production and Human Health’. May 24–26, 2007. Istanbul, Turkey.

Bouis, H. E. and R. M. Welch. 2010. Biofortification: A sustainable agricultural strategy for reducing micronutrient malnutrition in the global south. Crop Sci. 50:S20–S32.

Cakmak, I. 2008. Enrichment of cereal grains with zinc: Agronomic or genetic biofortification? Plant Soil 302:1–17.

Food Security Statistics. 2008. The State of Food Insecurity in the World. Rome, Italy: Food and Agricultural Organization.

Huang, J., C. Pray and S. Rozelle. 2002. Enhancing the crops to feed the poor. Nature 418:678–684.

IZA. 2009. Zinc in Fertilizers: Essential for Crops, Essential for Life! International Zinc Association, Brussels, Belgium.

FAO Database. 2005. Online at < spx#ancor> on May 5, 2010.

Food Security Statistics. 2008. The State of Food Insecurity in the World. Rome, Italy: Food and Agricultural Organization.

Muller, O. and M. Krawinkle. 2005. Malnutrition and health in developing countries. Can. Med. Ass. J. 173:279–286.

Population Division. 2009. World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision. Working Paper No. ESA/P/WP.210. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, USA.

About Authors

Imran Ramzan, Arslan Shehroz and Muhammad Zunair Latif

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad


This post is published by AgriHunt staff member. If you believe it should have your name please contact [email protected]

Articles: 1074

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *