Suitability of planting time to get iron and zinc enriched wheat varieties
Globally, more than two billion people are undernourished in the world and deficient in key vitamins and minerals, making it the world's greatest health risk factor. Among these, iron and zinc are of greater significance from human nutrition perspective, ranking them 5th and 6th in developing countries. The population most vulnerable to these micronutrient deficiencies is women and children. Iron deficiency results about 1.62 billion people as anemic, largely preschool children (47%). It is responsible for approximately 20854 deaths and two million disability adjusted life years (DALYs) among children under five years old, whereas, zinc deficiency is responsible for approximately 4% of deaths and 16 million DALYs, among children under age five. This leads to malnutrition ultimately leading to a disabled society.
Widespread accessibility of these nutrients is the solution to cater malnutrition. Wheat, the "staff of life," consumed by masses can help eradicate "hidden hunger." For this, fortification and bio-fortification are highly talked about, but one having limitations in reaching the masses and other a long term intervention, respectively, suitability of planting times to screen out varieties high in zinc and iron, is an on-field solution. In a study, wheat varieties; Punjab-11, Millat-11 and Galaxy-13 were selected from three planting times, with an interval of one month. Results reveal varieties exhibited their natural genotypic response but planting time impact on Zn and Fe were visibly significant. 30th December gave higher contents of Fe and Zn as compared to previous planting dates of the same year. Iron on an overall basis ranged from (135.0-147.0) ppm, while Zinc gave a confined range of (30.2-33.2) ppm. Thus, concluded that comparatively delayed sowing favours the mineral content concentration in wheat grains. And these creamed out varieties can readily be used in crosses with high yielding varieties, in order to make our wheat mineral sufficient.