Crop Biotech Update

First Zinc-enriched Maize Released in Colombia to Combat Malnutrition

March 7, 2018

A new variety of zinc-enriched maize was released in Colombia to help fight malnutrition in South America. The new maize variety (BIO-MZN01) was developed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) with the support of HarvestPlus and other partners.

Zinc is an essential mineral that has a vital role in human development. However, it is not naturally produced by the human body. Deficiency in zinc can cause impaired growth and development, respiratory infections, and weak immune system. In Colombia, about 22 percent of the population has a zinc deficiency.

According to CIMMYT, BIO-MZN01 has 36 percent more zinc than other maize varieties, meaning that maize-based dishes made of this new variety offer consumers up to five times more zinc than those made with traditional varieties. BIO-MZN01 can yield up to 6 to 8 tons per hectare(t/ha), nearly double the national average in Colombia of 3.7 t/ha and is tolerant to several maize diseases that are common in the region, including rust, turcicum leaf blight, and gray leaf spot. 

Read the news release of CIMMYT for more details.