Biofortification through breeding interventions in lentil
Micronutrient deficiency affects more than two billion population worldwide especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The deficiency in human body is commonly described as “hidden hunger” leading to a range of health hazards including low birth weight, anemia, learning disabilities, increased morbidity and mortality rates, and high health-care costs. Biofortification of food crop varieties with essential micronutrients is one of the potential means to address micronutrient deficiencies through crop breeding techniques. Grain legumes constitute the prime source of vegetarian diet in the developing world. Among grain legumes, lentil is a rich source of protein and other minerals including iron, zinc, selenium, folates, carotenoids, and vitamins. A wide range of genetic variability has been reported among the lentil germplasm with regard to nutrient-related traits. Therefore, lentil has been identified an ideal crop for micronutrient biofortification and a possible whole food solution to the global micronutrient malnutrition. Here, we discuss the current status of breeding interventions in nutritional enhancement of lentil varieties.