The healthy growth, development, and productivity of plants require large numbers of essential and beneficial elements, alongside the uptake of these elements, toxic metals and metalloids are also taken up and accumulated in the tissues of plants due to the imperfect selectivity of the transporters (Clemens and Ma, 2016; Huang et al., 2020; Deng et al., 2021). A proportion of the mineral elements taken up by roots is accumulated in the edible organs for human consumption, with the exact proportion being determined by the element in question, the plant species, and the environmental conditions. The lack of essential elements leads to retarded growth of plants, as well as hidden hunger for humans (Stanton et al., 2022). It is estimated that about 2 billion people worldwide suffer from deficiencies of iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) in their diet (Huang et al., 2020). On the other hand, excess intake of toxic elements through the food chain results in great health risk (Zhao et al., 2022). For instance, populations that consume cadmium (Cd) or arsenic (As) contaminated grains have an increased cancer risk (Deng et al., 2018; Zhao and Wang, 2020). Therefore, there is an urgency to develop ideal crops with elevated levels of Fe and Zn, as well as reduced As and Cd in their edible tissues.
Huge thanks are given to the colleagues, authors, reviewers, and support staff who contributed to the success of this Research Topic.
The work in FD and FZ lab was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (32170276), and the Major International (Regional) Joint Research Project from NSFC-ASRT (32061143044).
- plant nutrition
- mineral elements
- toxic metal(loid)s
- natural variations
- quantitative genetics