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115R481 PhD Micronutrient Fortification

Publication Date: 
7 November 2013
Author/Contact :
Gareth Cave

Contractor :
Nottingham Trent University

Full Research Project Title: PhD Micronutrient fortification of potato crops
Duration: October 2013 - September 2016


Both tuber yield and tuber quality are directly impacted by nutrient availability. However, studies into the effects of micronutrient feeds on growth rates, yield and uptake have been limited to conventional mineral salts and their chelated analogues, while attempts to increase the nutritional content focus on genetics. While a typical 175 g serving of potatoes (in skins) typically currently provides 20% of the RDA for iron, a safe low cost approach to increasing this value towards a 100% of our dietary nutritional requirement from low cost produce is ever more judicious.


Nottingham Trent University, Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR)

Aims and objectives

Aim: To formulate and produce aqueous soluble novel functionalised iron and zinc micronutrients, comprised natural mineral oxide nanoparticles coated with natural amino acids.

Objectives: To formulate aqueous soluble micronutrients of

(i) iron oxide-amino acid and zinc oxide-amino acid composite particles on a sub-micron scale using scalable green chemical process,
(ii) evaluate their effect on potato plant growth and yield and
(iii) mechanistically analyse and optimise the iron and zinc micronutrient uptake by the plant into the potato tuber towards mineral fortification.


The studentship will use a range of techniques investigating the growth effects of the new formulations and, in particular, the biochemical analysis of the uptake and bioavailability of the new formulations compared to existing nutrients. To minimise contamination and environmental factors, studies will primarily be conducted using hydroponics under artificial lighting in climate controlled chambers. It is expected that formulations will then be field trialled. Project outputs could lead to the development of new nano-systems with the potential to provide delivery of other nutrients to other major crops, which would be of great commercial interest. Supporting research that is likely to have a beneficial impact in terms of knowledge transfer, commercialisation and healthcare benefits.

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