Review: Toward Eradication of B-Vitamin Deficiencies: Considerations for Crop Biofortification (OA)

Front. Plant. Sci. Micronutrient malnutrition (or “hidden hunger”) is estimated to concern one fourth of the human population worldwide and its main victims are children and pregnant women. This review summarizes the biosynthetic pathways, the role in plant physiology and the recent efforts of the scientific community to overcome dietary deficiencies of three vitamins: B1, B6 and B9.

Genetic engineering was successfully applied to increase folate content in potatoes and B6 content in cassava roots (up to levels that match the recommended daily intake). On the other hands, breeding programs may be preferable to increase folate content in rice and B1 content in many crops, using the high variation in vitamin levels in natural varieties.

The authors also remind the importance of evaluating two important aspects: the vitamin stability upon storage and processing (cooking, polishing…) and the potential interplay of the B vitamin biosynthetic pathways. (Summary by Elisa Dell’Aglio) Front. Plant. Sci. 10.3389/fpls.2018.00443