Zinc deficiency affects 17% of the world’s population and iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the world’s most common micronutrient disorder, with the greatest burden in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). In Pakistan, the National Nutrition Survey 2011 indicated that over 40% of women were zinc deficient and 20% had IDA. The health consequences of zinc deficiency include stunted growth and impaired neurodevelopment in children, increased susceptibility to infections in children and adults, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth. IDA affects maternal and child mortality, physical and cognitive development in children and work productivity in adults.
Biofortification is a process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through conventional plant breeding techniques and addition of nutrient-rich fertilisers. An increasing body of evidence suggests that it may be a cost-effective and sustainable approach to reduce micronutrient deficiencies.
We are conducting the first large-scale investigation into the potential of biofortified wheat to reduce zinc and iron deficiencies among adolescent girls and children in Pakistan.
The programme of work includes three Work Packages:
WP1 – A trial effectiveness study of the potential of biofortified wheat (Zincol-2016) to improve zinc and iron status among adolescent girls and children living in a low resource community in Pakistan.
WP2 – A spatial modelling study to integrate soil and crop data, together with environmental covariates, to enable prediction and mapping of the variation in wheat grain zinc concentration due to soil properties, farmer management and wheat variety.
WP3 – A mixed methods study to understand the socio-cultural factors and market systems that affect the sustainable uptake of biofortified wheat in Pakistan.
Lancashire Research Centre for Global Development
Research Theme: Health and Wellbeing
Research Team: Sport, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences
School: Sport and Health Sciences
BBSRC Global Challenges Research Fund
IZiNCG: BIZIFED2 – Biofortification with Zinc and Iron for Eliminating Deficiency in Pakistan
Global Food Security: Hidden Hunger: Biofortified wheat and zinc deficiency in Pakistan
The Conversation: Scientists are breeding super-nutritious crops to help solve global hunger
April 2019 to March 2021
Regular updates will be posted on our blog
Professor Nicola Lowe: NMLowe@uclan.ac.uk or 01772 893599
Dr Heather Ohly: HOhly1@uclan.ac.uk or 01772 895703
£1.9 million for global health research study
UCLan led trial to tackle zinc and iron deficiency receives additional financial support