Hidden Hunger and Biofortification of Cereals with Micronutrients

Thursday, April 26, 2018


MBG Conference Hall


Prof. İsmail ÇAKMAK

Sabanci University, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences


Prof. İSMAİL ÇAKMAK is professor at the Sabanci University, Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, in Istanbul. In 1988 he received his Ph.D. at the University Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. He is editorial board member of the journals Plant and Soil (Springer), European Journal of Agronomy (Elsevier) and Review Editor of Frontiers in Plant Nutrition (Frontiers Journals). He was also “Honorary Theme Editor” of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems and edited the section entitled Impacts of Agriculture on Human Health and Nutrition published by UNESCO. He is recipient of the IFA (Intl' Fertilizer Assoc.) 2005 International Crop Nutrition Award, and Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering 2007 "Derek Tribe Award Medal”. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed journal articles, and these articles received more than 22800 citations (H-Index: 79). For further details of Prof. Cakmaks' cv including list of publications: http://myweb.sabanciuniv.edu/cakmak



Despite increasing amount of foods to most people globally, micronutrient deficiencies (“hidden hunger”) still represent a major health problem in human populations. Iron, zinc, selenium and iodine deficiencies are well-documented micronutrient deficiencies affecting around 2 billion people and causing serious health complications and chronic diseases. Low amount of micronutrients in soils and their inadequate dietary intake are well-documented reasons for hidden hunger. Iodine deficiency is a particular one because it is also highly prevalent in well-developed countries. Despite implementation of several intervention programs against iodine deficiency, such as use of iodized salt, inadequate iodine intake is still a growing health concern today. High prevalence of hidden hunger is most commonly associated with increasing consumption of cereal-based foods with low amount of micronutrients. For example, the most common concentrations of grain iodine and zinc in maize, rice and wheat range from 10 to 20 µg for iodine and from 15 to 30 mg for zinc per kg grain, which are far too low to meet daily iodine and zinc requirement of human populations. Human body requires daily 150 μg iodine and 15 mg zinc. This presentation will focus on agricultural strategies aiming at improving grain concentrations of micronutrients, by paying particular attention to agronomic strategies (i.e., targeted fertilizer application). A targeted fertilizer-strategy involves foliar application of a cocktail solution of micronutrients at particular growth stages and provides rapid and effective solution to the problem. Recent results show that combination of the plant breeding tool with a “targeted mineral fertilization practice” create additive and synergistic impacts on accumulation of micronutrients in cereal grains at desirable amounts for human nutrition.