Biofortification of rice grain with zinc through inorganic fertilization

Amal Jose, D. Jacob, J.S. Bindhu, A.V. Meera


Polished white rice which is widely consumed as staple food by majority of humanity has inherently low Zn content. Zn malnutrition is a major global health issue associated with rice based diets. The process of intentional enhancement of Zn in rice grain through application of Zn fertilizers causes biofortification of rice grain with Zn. The present study was thus formulated to assess the effect of method and time of Zn fertilization on yield and biofortification of rice grain with Zn. Field experiment was conducted during kharif 2018-19 at farmer’s field in Southern Coastal Plains of Kerala. The experiment was laid out in randomized block design with eight treatments replicated thrice. Treatments comprised of different zinc sulphate concentrations viz., 0.5 and 0.1% foliar application at maximum tillering, panicle initiation, booting and milking stages; zinc sulphate 20 kg ha-1soil application as basal; and a control viz., without Zn. Impact of lime addition to zinc sulphate spray solution was also evaluated. Foliar fertilization of zinc sulphate 0.1% at maximum tillering and milking stages, produced the highest grain (6605 kg ha-1) and straw (7024 kg ha-1) yield; increased Zn content in rough rice (29.8 mg kg-1) and its milled fractions viz., rice bran (75.8 mg kg-1), brown rice (19.1 mg kg-1) and white rice (9.11 mg kg-1). Considering the highest apparent Zn biofortification recovery efficiency (43.8%) net returns (91213 A ha-1) and benefit: cost ratio (1.88), zinc sulphate 0.1% foliar fertilization at maximum tillering and milking stages can be recommended for improved yield and biofortification of rice grain with Zn.


Bioavailability; Biofortification; Biofortification recovery efficiency; Phytate; Phytate: zinc molar ratio; Rice; Zinc; Zinc sulphate

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