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What is Biofortification?

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What is Biofortification?


Why in News?

PM to dedicate to the Nation 17 recently developed biofortified varieties of 8 crops.

Significance:

These varieties, along with other food ingredients, will transform the normal Indian thali into nutri-thali.

  • These crops will have up to 3.0-fold increase in nutritional value.

Basics:

What is biofortification?

It is the process of increasing nutritional value of food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding; agronomic practices or biotechnology.

  • Examples of these vitamins and minerals that can be increased through biofortification include provitamin A Carotenoids, zinc and iron.

How are crops fortified?

  1. Conventional crop breeding techniques are used to identify varieties with particularly high concentration of desired nutrients.
  2. These are cross-bred with varieties with other desirable traits from the target areas (such a virus resistance, drought tolerance, high yielding, taste) to develop biofortified varieties that have high levels of micronutrients (for example, vitamin A, iron or zinc), in addition to other traits desired by farmers and consumers.

What is Agronomic biofortification?

It entails application of minerals such as zinc or iron as foliar or soil applications, drawing on plant management, soil factors, and plant characteristics to get enhanced content of key micronutrients into the edible portion of the plant.

How does Biofortification differ from food fortification?

  • Biofortification has the increased nutritional micronutrient content embedded in the crop being grown.
  • Food fortification increases the nutritional value of foods by adding trace amounts of micronutrients to foods during processing.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Bio fortification vs Genetic modifications.
  2. Micro vs Macronutrients.
  3. Approval for Biofortified and GM crops in India.
  4. GM crops allowed in India.
  5. Biofortification vs food fortification.

Mains Link:

What do you understand by fortification of foods? Discuss its advantages.

Sources: PIB.