`star` Biofortification

`star` Single Cell Protein

`star`Tissue Culture


● `color{Brown}"Biofortification"` – breeding crops with higher levels of vitamins and minerals, or higher protein and healthier fats – is the most practical means to improve public health.

● `color{Violet}"Breeding for"` `color{Violet}"improved nutritional quality"` is undertaken with the `color{Violet}"objectives"` of improving –

(i) `color{Violet}"Protein"` content and quality;
(ii) `color{Violet}"Oil"` content and quality;
(iii) `color{Violet}"Vitamin"` content; and
(iv) `color{Violet}"Micronutrient"` and `color{Violet}"mineral"` content.

● In `color{Violet}"2000"`, `color{Violet}"maize hybrids"` that had twice the amount of the amino acids, `color{Violet}"lysine and tryptophan"`, compared to existing maize hybrids were developed.

● Wheat variety, `color{Brown}"Atlas 66"`, having a `color{Violet}"high protein content"`, has been used as a donor for improving `color{Violet}"cultivated wheat"`.

● It has been possible to develop an `color{Violet}"iron-fortified rice"` variety containing over `color{Violet}"five times"` as much iron as in commonly consumed varieties.

● The `color{Violet}"Indian Agricultural"` `color{Violet}"Research Institute"`, New Delhi has also released several vegetable crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals,

● E.g: `color{Violet}"Vitamin A"` enriched carrots, spinach, pumpkin; `color{Violet}"vitamin C"` enriched bitter gourd, bathua, mustard, tomato; `color{Violet}"iron and calcium"` enriched spinach and bathua; and `color{Violet}"protein enriched"` beans – broad, lablab, French and garden peas.


`color{Violet}"Conventional agricultural production"` of cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, etc., may not be able to meet the `color{Violet}"demand of food"` at the rate at which human and animal population is increasing.

The shift from `color{Violet}"grain to meat"` diets also creates more demand for cereals as it takes`color{Violet}" 3-10 Kg of grain"` to produce `color{Violet}"1 Kg of meat "`by animal farming.

More than `color{Violet}"25 per cent"` of human population is suffering from `color{Violet}"hunger and malnutrition"`.

● One of the `color{Violet}"alternate sources"` of proteins for animal and human nutrition is `color{Brown}"Single Cell Protein (SCP)"`.

● `color{Violet}"Microbes"` are being grown on an `color{Violet}"industrial scale"` as source of `color{Violet}"good protein"`.

● Microbes like `color{Violet}"𝘚𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘶𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘢"` can be grown easily on materials like `color{Violet}"waste water"` from potato processing plants (containing starch), straw, molasses, animal manure and even `color{Violet}"sewage"`, to produce large quantities and can serve as `color{Violet}"food"` rich in protein, minerals, fats, carbohydrate and vitamins.

● Incidentally such utilisation also `color{Violet}"reduces environmental pollution"`.

● It has been calculated that a 250 Kg cow produces `color{Violet}"200 g of protein"` per day.

● In the same period, `color{Violet}"250g"` of a micro-organism like `color{Violet}"𝘔𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘺𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘶𝘴 𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘺𝘭𝘰𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘶𝘴"`, because of its `color{Violet}"high rate"` of biomass production and growth, can be expected to produce 25 tonnes of protein.

● The fact that `color{Violet}"mushrooms"` are eaten by many people and `color{Violet}"large scale"` `color{Violet}"mushroom culture"` is a growing industry makes it believable that microbes too would become acceptable as food.



● As traditional breeding techniques `color{Violet}"failed to keep pace"` with demand and to provide sufficiently `color{Violet}"fast and efficient systems"` for crop improvement, another technology called tissue culture got developed.

● It was learnt by scientists, during `color{Violet}"1950s"`, that whole plants could be `color{Violet}"regenerated from explants"`, i.e., any part of a plant taken out and grown in a test tube, under `color{Violet}"sterile conditions"` in special nutrient media.

● This capacity to generate a `color{Violet}"whole plant"` from any cell/explant is called `color{Brown}"totipotency"`.

● It is important to stress here that the `color{Violet}"nutrient medium"` must provide a `color{Violet}"carbon source"` such as sucrose and also `color{Violet}"inorganic salts"`, vitamins, amino acids and `color{Violet}"growth regulators"` like auxins, cytokinins etc.

● By application of these methods it is possible to `color{Violet}"achieve propagation"` of a large number of plants in very `color{Violet}"short durations"`.

● This method of producing `color{Violet}"thousands of plants"` through tissue culture is called `color{Brown}"micropropagation"`.

● Each of these plants will be `color{Violet}"genetically identical"` to the original plant from which they were grown, i.e., they are `color{Brown}"somaclones"`.

● Many important food plants like `color{Violet}"tomato, banana, apple"`, etc., have been produced on commercial scale using this method.

`color{Brown}"Recovery of"` `color{Brown}"healthy plants"` `color{Brown}"from diseased plants:"`

● Another important application of the method is the `color{Violet}"recovery of healthy plants"` from diseased plants.

● Although the plant is `color{Violet}"infected with a virus"`, the `color{Brown}"meristem"` (apical and axillary) is `color{Violet}"free"` of virus.

● Hence, one can remove the meristem and `color{Violet}"grow it in vitro"` to obtain `color{Violet}"virus-free plants"`.

● Scientists have succeeded in `color{Violet}"culturing meristems"` of banana, sugarcane, potato, etc.

`color{Brown}"Somatic Hybridisation:"`

● Scientists have even `color{Violet}"isolated single cells"` from plants and after digesting their cell walls have been able to isolate `color{Violet}"naked protoplasts"` (surrounded by plasma membranes).

● `color{Violet}"Isolated protoplasts"` from two different varieties of plants – each having a `color{Violet}"desirable character"` – can be `color{Violet}"fused"` to get `color{Violet}"hybrid protoplasts"`, which can be further grown to form a new plant.

● These hybrids are called `color{brown}"somatic hybrids"` while the process is called `color{Brown}"somatic hybridisation"`.

● A `color{Violet}"protoplast of tomato"` has been fused with that of `color{Violet}"potato"`, and then they are grown – to form new `color{Violet}"hybrid plants"` combining tomato and potato characteristics- resulting in formation of tomato

● Unfortunately this plant `color{Violet}"did not have"` all the `color{Violet}"desired combination"` of characteristics for its commercial utilisation.