About this Research Topic
The increased production and productivity in most food crops since the 1960s has addressed global food security to a larger extent, while nutritional security still remains to be a major challenge. A significant proportion of the world’s population, especially in the developing world, suffer from health and nutritional deficiency disorders. There are more than two dozen mineral elements, vitamins, antioxidants and health beneficial compounds which have to be supplied in optimal quantities on a daily basis for the normal growth and development of human beings. Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A deficiencies are the major global health problems. At the same time, there is a need to reduce the concentrations of toxic heavy metals in the edible portion of the food crops.
Developing improved crop varieties with enhanced nutrition and reduced levels of toxic elements have been found to be one of the most sustainable and food-based approaches to address health and nutritional disorders. Addressing malnutrition through improved health and nutrition is also one of the major sustainable goals to be achieved by 2030. There is, therefore, an urgent need to develop nutritious crops. Breeding nutrition dense crops have made significant progress in the last decade; however, still, a lot needs to be achieved by holistically understanding the genetic, physiological, molecular aspects of accumulation of beneficial compounds and reduced toxic elements.
Cereals constitute a major group of staple food crops and contribute a major portion of daily caloric intake in developing countries. Some of the cereals are rich in vitamins, minerals (especially micronutrients such as iron and zinc), dietary fiber and phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. They have to be thoroughly characterized and used in breeding nutritious crops. The yield of major cereal crops is increased by the Green Revolution but it often lacks nutritional improvement which is essential for human health. The nutritional quality of cereal grains has been a major target for improvement using breeding and biotechnology approaches.
With this background, we welcome eminent researchers working on cereal crops across the world to contribute their high-quality research original manuscripts, mini-reviews, reviews, opinion articles, covering all the health and nutrition aspects of cereals:
• Nutritional compounds - vitamins, minerals, ionomers, antioxidants, bioactive compounds, heavy metals, anti-nutrients, protein/amino acids, dietary fiber, resistant starch, low GI, any other health and nutrition
• Breeding - advances in phenotyping, systematic collection and characterization of germplasm, phylogenetic and diversity analysis, breeding and varietal development, stacking of vitamins/minerals, G x E, methodologies/novel approaches, varietal dissemination and success stories
• Physiological aspects – processes of accumulation, degradation, an interaction of minerals, vitamins, and toxins
• Molecular aspects - Omics, molecular characterization, QTL, gene, Marker Assisted Breeding, Genomic Selection, Bioinformatics applications, Comparative genomics, transgenics, genome editing, methodologies/novel approaches
• Post-genomics era - applications for improved nutrition
Keywords: Cereals, nutrition, omics, breeding, Genome editing
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.