Nourishing Plants and People Welch Presentation 19 Nov 10


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IFPRI 2020 Panel Discussion "Nourishing Plants and People New Insights on How Fertilizers Affect Agriculture Nutrition, & Health" by Dr. Welch

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Nourishing Plants and People Welch Presentation 19 Nov 10

  1. 1. Soils For Health: Enhancing Human Nutrition from the Ground Up<br />Ross M. Welch<br />USDA-ARS Robert Holley Center for Agriculture & Health<br />Department of Crop & Soil Sciences<br />Cornell University<br />
  2. 2. Why Does Agriculture Exist?<br />To produce food and fiber and provide livelihoods to farmers and profits to the agricultural and food industries alone?<br />Why do we need “food”? – Nutrients!<br />Agriculture is the primary source of all essential minerals and vitamins required for human life! <br />Farmers are nutrient providers!<br />If food systems, based in agriculture, cannot provide all the essential nutrients in adequate quantities to sustain human life during all seasons, diseases ensue, societies suffer and development efforts stagnate.<br />
  3. 3. Global Food Systems’ Problems<br /><ul><li> Agriculture’s primary focus has been on production alone, with little concern for nutritional or health-promoting qualities of products
  4. 4. Nutritionists tend to emphasize unsustainable medical approaches to solve malnutrition problems
  5. 5. supplements
  6. 6. food fortificants
  7. 7. These strategies do not address the underlying causes of malnutrition - dysfunctional food systems based in agricultural systems that do not have a goal of promoting human health
  8. 8. Simplistic views are the norm – looking for “silver bullet” approaches for solutions
  9. 9. Agriculture and human health have never been generally recognized as closely linked disciplines </li></li></ul><li>Soil-Plant Factors Effecting the Micronutrient Quality of Plant Foods<br />Factors effecting available essential element supplies in soils<br />Soil type (pH, organic matter, parent material, etc.)<br />Root-soil interactions & rhizosphere effects<br />Agronomic practices (fertilizers, amendments, organic matter, cropping systems, variety selection, etc.)<br />The available supplies of essential minerals (as influenced by genetic & environmental variables) also affect the accumulation of numerous other nutrients (e.g., vitamins) and other health promoting factors accumulated in edible portions of plant foods<br />
  10. 10. Fertilizer Approaches to "Healthier" Food Crops<br />Fertilizer Practices<br />Macronutrient fertilizers (form and application method)<br />N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg<br />effects protein, fats, vitamins, antinutrients, promoters, etc. <br />Micronutrient & trace element fertilizers (form and application method)<br />Zn, Se, Co, I, Ni, Mo, Li, Cl - effective in increasing amount in plant seeds and grains<br />Fe, Cu, Mn, B, Cr, V, Si - not very effective in increasing seed or grain levels<br />
  11. 11. Agronomic Benefits of Micronutrient Element-Enriched Seeds (e.g. Zn, Mo)<br /><ul><li>Better seed viability
  12. 12. Greater seedling vigor
  13. 13. Denser stands (less soil erosion)
  14. 14. Lower seeding rates (lower seeding cost to farmers)
  15. 15. Larger root absorptive surface (better water & nutrient use efficiency)
  16. 16. Better resistance to disease
  17. 17. Better plant survival
  18. 18. Increased plant & seed yield</li></li></ul><li>Before I<br />After I<br />Importantly: also ≈ 30% increase in livestock productivity!<br />Data from Cao, et al., 1994<br />Fertilizer Approach to IDD<br />
  19. 19. Effect of Foliar Applied Selenate and Selenite on the Se Level in Field Grown Polished Rice Grain<br />Se applied Grain yieldaSe in graina<br />Se treatment(Se g ha-1) (kg plot-1) (g g-1) <br />Control 0 24.05 ± 2.16a 0.071 ± 0.002a<br />Selenite 20 24.54 ± 5.15a 0.471 ± 0.134b<br />Selenate 20 23.78 ± 0.45a 0.640 ± 0.191c<br />aValues are means of three determinations ± standard deviation. Values followed by a different letter in each column are significantly different (P < 0.05). <br />Consumption of 400 g per day of the high-Se rice would provide 200 g Se.<br />(Data from Chen et al., J. Agric. Food Chem. 50: 5128-5130, 2002)<br />
  20. 20. Effect of Se Fertilization (6 or 16 mg kg-1) in Finland on Serum-Se Levels in 21year-old Finish Students<br />YearSerum-Se (µmole L-1)<br /><ul><li>1985 (baseline) 1.05
  21. 21. 1989 1.60
  22. 22. 1991 1.58</li></ul>< 1 mole L-1 serum-Se related to increased cancer risk.<br />(Data from Makela et al., Biol. Trace Element Res. 36: 151-157, 1993)<br />
  23. 23. Effects of Zinc Fertilization on Wheat Yield & Grain-Zn Level<br />Zn application<br />Zn concentration<br />Increases in yield by Zn Fertilizer<br />methods<br />Whole shoot<br />Grain<br />Whole <br />shoot <br />Grain<br />-<br />1<br />(mg kg<br />(%)<br />)<br />100<br />Control<br />10<br />10<br />-<br />Soil<br />19<br />18<br />109<br />265<br />Seed<br />12<br />10<br /> 79<br />204<br />Foliar<br />60<br />27<br /> 40<br />124<br />69<br />35<br /> 92<br />250<br />Soil + foliar<br />73<br />29<br /> 83<br />268<br />Seed + foliar<br />Using both soil and foliar Zn fertilizers<br />can maximize grain yields and grain-zinc<br />Yilmaz et al., 1997 <br />
  24. 24. Agriculture’s Agenda For Better Health<br />(Congressional Briefing) <br />Item 1:Declare a goal of agriculture to produce high quality food that promotes human health and well-being in sustainable ways.<br />Item 2: Design seeds,cropping & livestock systems that help achieve primary goal—design for maximum nutrient output of farming systems.<br />Item 3:Genetically modify food crops, increasing nutritional and health while promoting crop productivity (biofortification).<br />Item 4:Use agronomic practices (e.g., fertilizers and cropping systems)to improve nutrient output of farming systems. <br />Item 5:Define sustainable agriculture, as agriculture that yields “healthy foods” for healthy and productive people!<br />