Zinc Solubilizing Bacteria for Zinc Biofortification in Cereals: A Step Toward Sustainable Nutritional Security

  • Azhar Hussain
  • Zahir Ahmad Zahir
  • Hafiz Naeem Asghar
  • Maqshoof Ahmad
  • Moazzam Jamil
  • Muhammad Naveed
  • M. Fakhar U. Zaman Akhtar


Food production and security for the ever-increasing population are becoming a key challenge for the scientists. The food security demands not only enhanced agricultural productivity but also improvement in produce quality while reducing adverse impact of agricultural practices on natural resources and the environment. Inadequate nutrition is popular among poor community. Malnutrition of micronutrients is also common due to less concentration present in food. The concentration of micronutrients is very low in cereals due to dependence on cereals; we are taking micronutrients far below the required ones in daily nutrition and are suffering the deficiency of these micronutrients. Among these, Zn is a part of enzymes that regulates the rate of metabolic reactions involved in the development and growth of crop plants and human beings. Zinc deficiency is a common issue not only in plants but in human being and animals as well. Approximately one third of total population of poor world is at high risk of Zn deficiency because they rely on cereals for their daily caloric intake. Its deficiency is a global problem for plants and can be found in every part of the world. More than 70% of Pakistani soils are zinc deficient. So, the cereal crops grown on these soils are zinc deficient. Zn deficiency is the largest cause of death and diseases in humans. This situation demands some effective strategies to overcome Zn deficiency in edible crops, to enhance the grain Zn content and to minimize adverse effects of Zn deficiency on humans thus reducing malnutrition. Many strategies are available to overcome the zinc deficiency in plants and human beings as well. Most important and sustainable strategy is the use of zinc solubilizing bacteria. Zinc solubilizing bacteria alone or with organic materials may also increase the bioavailability of native and applied zinc to the plants through different mechanisms of actions. In this chapter, importance of zinc with a special reference to zinc solubilizing bacteria and their mechanisms of action for improving the yield and quality of cereals to achieve the nutritional food security has been discussed in detail.


Biofortification Biofertilizers Nutritional security Zinc solubilizing bacteria Organic acids Bacillus sp. Plant growth promoting bacteria Malnutrition 



We thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Azhar Hussain
    • 1
  • Zahir Ahmad Zahir
    • 2
  • Hafiz Naeem Asghar
    • 2
  • Maqshoof Ahmad
    • 1
  • Moazzam Jamil
    • 1
  • Muhammad Naveed
    • 2
  • M. Fakhar U. Zaman Akhtar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science, University College of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesThe Islamia University of BahawalpurBahawalpurPakistan
  2. 2.Institute of Soil & Environmental SciencesUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan

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