As mentioned, the 3rd phase of the project will also include foliar tests with iodine due to little  information  on the role of iodine-containing  fertilizers in improving grain iodine concentration in rice and wheat.

Iodine: A New Micronutrient in HarvestZinc Project

Besides Zn deficiency, iodine deficiency (ID) is also widespread in human populations, causing serious effects on health in particular in children and pregnant women. Main effects include impaired mental development, rapid growth of goitre and increases in pregnancy loss. Despite significant achievements in reducing ID incidence in human populations through the use of iodized salt, there are, however, still approximately 2 billion people suffering from ID (Zimmerman and Andersson, 2012, Curr. Opinion Endoc. Diabet. Obesity, 19: 382-387; Andersson et al. 2012, J. Nutr. 142: 744-750; Pearce et al, 2013, Thyroid, 23: 523-528).  Due to infrastructural and/or cultural problems, the impact of salt iodization interventions on reducing ID has failed in many places. The global efforts to reduce the daily salt intake also raise concerns for further increases in ID in human populations. 

Why Maize less Responsive to Foliar Zinc

In the past activities of the HarvestZinc project, one of the interesting results was the poor response of maize to foliar Zn application. Rice and particularly wheat respond to foliar Zn fertilization very positively and significantly; but the response of maize to Zn fertilization was much less and insignificant compared to rice and wheat. The reason of this differential response will be one of the research topics of the 3rd phase. 

Testing New HarvestPlus Lines for Their Response to Fertilizer Applications

After a long-term successful breeding efforts, HarvestPlus  initiated the delivery of the first biofortified zinc-rice and zinc-wheat lines having up to 8 ppm (rice) to 12 ppm (wheat) added zinc in the grain. These newly-developed genotypes with high Zn will be studied fıor their response to  soil and foliar applşcation of Zn and other micronutrients.  

Testing Next Generation Micronutrient Fertilizers

In recent years, several fertilizer companies increasingly pay attention to the effect of their micronutrient containing fertilizers on improving the nutritional quality of the edible parts of food crops. In the past, the focus was mainly on yield and production economics. By now, next generation fertilizer products have been developed and made available for research and test marketing. Studying these new products for their agronomic effectiveness in increasing grain micronutrient concentrations will be a further task of this project.

Delivery and Implementation

Several activities will be organized together with the project collaborators in selected  target countries to achieve a successful dissemination and implementation of the project outputs Organization of the "Zinc Days Events" will continue to introduce the results and related knowledge to farmers and governmental organizations. These events will also include presentations on the importance of iodine in human nutrition and health. In addition, large-scale farmer-participatory field trials will be established to demonstrate to farmers the benefits of using high Zn-seeds on germination, seedling vigour and final yield. Studies regarding the cost/benefit analysis of agronomic biofortification initiated in the 2nd Phase of the project will continue, and the results obtained will be validated in the 3rd Phase of the project

The project tasks described  will be realized  together with following instititutions, and coordinated by Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • BRAZIL: Universidade Federal de Lavras
  • SOUTH AFRICA: Stellenbosch University
  • INDIA: Punjab Agricultural University 
  • PAKISTAN: Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Islamabad
  • CHINA: China Agricultural University, Beijing 
  • THAILAND: Chiang Mai University
  • TURKEY: Transitional Zone Agricultural Research Institute, Eskisehir.

The 3rd phase of the project  is also supported by the following institutions: