Biotech Updates

JIC Scientists Biofortify Wheat to Produce Flour with More Iron

July 12, 2017

Researchers from the John Innes Centre (JIC) have developed a variety of wheat that has high levels of iron. This new biofortified variety could help decrease the number of people with iron deficiency around the world.

Wheat contains iron in parts that are removed however, before it is produced as white flour. With the use of the published wheat genome, Dr. James Connorton and colleagues located two genes involved in iron transport. Then, one of the genes was used to direct more iron into the endosperm, leading to a variety that produces twice the amount of iron present in commercial varieties.

"This breakthrough means that higher levels of iron from the wheat itself could replace added iron in everyday items such as white flour and breakfast cereals, helping the estimated 1 billion people that suffer from iron deficiency worldwide," said Dr. Janneke Balk, one of the researchers.

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