A Crop and Environmental Sciences Division Seminar
By Carlo Leo Cabral
Soils, Crop and Environmental Sciences Division
1:15-2:15 P.M., Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Room A, D.L. Umali Laboratory, IRRI
It has been estimated that 50% of the world's population depends wholly or partially on rice. In a country like the Philippines, it is more or less the only food for many people. Although rice is a staple food, it contains low levels of micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin A. Zinc (Zn) is one of the essential trace elements and a member of one of the major subgroups of micronutrients that have attained such importance in human nutrition and health. In relation to this, HarvestPlus (a global leader in developing biofortified crops) is now breeding Zn-biofortified rice lines to reduce micronutrient malnutrition by providing it in staple foods that people eat. Along with nutritional improvement of a food crop, it is also important to provide consumers with assurance of food safety. On the other hand, cadmium (Cd), an element which has carcinogenic, teratogenic, and mutagenic, and is not essential for plant, animal, or human development, is posing a threat to humans and animals by accumulating in the food chain. It has a very low mobility, which is why, upon contamination from different sources, it tends to accumulate in the layer of the soil where plants take nutrients (Francois et al. 2008). Since both Zn and Cd have similar properties in the soil and may be translocated from plant roots to shoots and grains, it is important to know how the practices used to increase Zn concentration in rice grains affect Cd concentration and thus minimize the risk of Cd transport into high-Zn rice.