Nutrients applied when they are not required by the plant result in economic and environmental losses. Under-supply relative to demand may limit plant growth and yield.
Oversupply may result in losses of applied nutrients because of leaching or volatilisation and decreased nutrient use efficiency.
60-80% of the world’s 6 billion people are iron deficient, more than 30% suffer from zinc deficiency, 30% of the population are iodine deficient and about 15% are selenium deficient.
Four million preschool-age children have visible eye damage due to Vitamin A deficiency.
Epidimiological studies have shown the health-promoting effects of phytochemicals such as lycopene, flavonoids, glucosinolates, etc. Crops with improved nutritional quality can overcome the “hidden hunger”.