Nutritional improvement of fruit and vegetables: the agronomic biofortification

A disorderly diet and the purchase of low-quality food, with a poor nutrition level, in the last few years, have led to malnutrition problems. This diet, with a low content of micronutrients and vitamins, is causing an increase of health problems such as anaemia and nutrition deficiencies. 

Increasing the nutraceutical value of vegetables is a particularly important challenge in developing countries, but also in those industrialised. This kind of progress may represent an added value for agriculture, favouring a major competitiveness of products on the market and ensuring a more healthy and complete nutrition for consumers.

Functional food

How could we meet the need of producing quality food in support of a correct nutrition?
The answer is developing particular and specific techniques aiming to obtain functional and more nutritional products.
They can be divided into four categories:

  • Enriched food: increase in the percentage of a naturally-present nutrient in a processed/transformed food
  • Supplemented food: addition of a non-naturally present nutrient in a processed/transformed food
  • Fortified food: addition of mineral salts and/or vitamins in a processed/transformed food 
  • Biofortified food: addition of minerals and/or vitamins during the vegetative-production cycle through an agronomic intervention.

Among the four categories, agronomic biofortification is the only way that allows to intervene directly on the plant, naturally ensuring improved nutritional values to fruit and vegetables.

Thus, biofortification employs non-invasive fertilization techniques with the aim of obtaining more healthy food and increasing nutrient bioavailability.

FCP Cerea project

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FCP Cerea, in collaboration with the Medicine Department of the University of Verona, has come up with an agronomic biofortification method which allows to increase, in the treated crops, the level of nutrients, fundamental for human nutrition.

The activities carried out allowed to positively assess, in full-scale application conditions, the developed method and its great potential.

The agronomic biofortification exemplifies our constant engagement in growing better to eat better and fully reflects our values as a Cooperative of farmers for farmers.