Toward Eradication of B-Vitamin Deficiencies: Considerations for Crop Biofortification

  • Strobbe S
  • Van Der Straeten D
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© 2018 Strobbe and Van Der Straeten. ‘Hidden hunger’ involves insufficient intake of micronutrients and is estimated to affect over two billion people on a global scale. Malnutrition of vitamins and minerals is known to cause an alarming number of casualties, even in the developed world. Many staple crops, although serving as the main dietary component for large population groups, deliver inadequate amounts of micronutrients. Biofortification, the augmentation of natural micronutrient levels in crop products through breeding or genetic engineering, is a pivotal tool in the fight against micronutrient malnutrition (MNM). Although these approaches have shown to be successful in several species, a more extensive knowledge of plant metabolism and function of these micronutrients is required to refine and improve biofortification strategies. This review focuses on the relevant B-vitamins (B1, B6, and B9). First, the role of these vitamins in plant physiology is elaborated, as well their biosynthesis. Second, the rationale behind vitamin biofortification is illustrated in view of pathophysiology and epidemiology of the deficiency. Furthermore, advances in biofortification, via metabolic engineering or breeding, are presented. Finally, considerations on B-vitamin multi-biofortified crops are raised, comprising the possible interplay of these vitamins in planta.




Strobbe, S., & Van Der Straeten, D. (2018). Toward Eradication of B-Vitamin Deficiencies: Considerations for Crop Biofortification. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9.

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