Biofortification of Pearl Millet with Iron and Zinc in a Randomized Controlled Trial Increases Absorption of These Minerals above Physiologic Requirements in Young Children

Journal Articles
Agriculture, Nutrition
Journal of Nutrition
Bhalchandra S. Kodkany, Roopa M. Bellad, Niranjana S. Mahantshetti, and Jamie E. Westcott
Resource Publication Date:
August, 2013
Content Format:

This study shows that pearl millet bred to contain more iron can provide young children with their full daily iron needs. Pearl millet is an important staple food in semi-arid regions of India and Africa, where iron deficiency is widespread. Lack of iron impairs mental development and increases fatigue. Severe anemia, often caused by iron deficiency, increases the risk of women dying in childbirth. These new varieties of pearl millet are being conventionally bred to provide more dietary iron to rural farming communities in arid drought-prone regions where few other crops thrive. In the study, iron-deficient Indian children under the age of three who ate traditionally-prepared porridges (sheera, uppama) and flat bread (roti) made from iron-rich pearl millet flour absorbed substantially more iron than from ordinary pearl millet flour, enough to meet their physiological requirements. 

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