Data_Sheet_1_Bioactive Nutrient Fortified Fertilizer: A Novel Hybrid Approach for the Enrichment of Wheat Grains With Zinc.docx
Zinc (Zn) is a critical micronutrient that synergizes nutrient use efficiency, and improves plant growth and human health. Low Zn bioavailability in soils affects produce quality and agricultural productivity worldwide ultimately inducing deficiency in humans and animals. Zn deficiency is a leading cause of malnutrition in underdeveloped countries where a widespread population depends upon staple cereals for daily intake of calories. Modern cereal cultivars are inherently low in Zn, eventually, plants need to be enriched with soil application of ZnSO4, but due to higher fixation losses, it becomes an inefficient source. Rhizosphere microbiome contains Zn-solubilizing bacteria (ZSB) that improve Zn bioavailability, thus increase the root function, Zn uptake, and plant growth. Niha Corp developed a hybrid process of bioactive nutrient fortified fertilizer (BNFF), which has been used to formulate Zabardast Urea (ZU) by coating bioactive Zn (BAZ) and ZSB on urea. Data obtained for 15 wheat varieties from 119 farmer field demonstration plots and eight replicated trials on 42 locations across multi-environment conditions conclude that ZU significantly improved the plant biomass and yield by 12% over non-Zn control and produced grains with 57 μg/g Zn contents, which can meet a major part of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of humans. The study recommends that this microbe-mediated hybrid invention (ZU) is a feasible approach to boost Zn bioavailability and Zn use efficiency, with enhanced yield and quality that may contribute to improve human health. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first wide-scale field testing of Zn enrichment in the grains of bread wheat using an innovative BNFF Urea Z technology.