Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Lessons from nutrient-use-efficient plants to benefit dietary mineral intake

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
zinc, plants, diets, hyperaccumulation, model plant, Brassicas, gene expression, wheat, millet, element distribution, X-ray fluorescence
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on April 15, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  785  16,972  13,793  17.57 
Scopus  809  18,973  15,593  19.27 
Researchers (19)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08387  PhD Iztok Arčon  Physics  Researcher  2021 - 2024  763 
2.  55860  Valentina Bočaj  Biology  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024  14 
3.  34332  PhD Marko Flajšman  Plant production  Researcher  2021 - 2024  161 
4.  15122  PhD Mateja Germ  Biology  Researcher  2022 - 2024  592 
5.  34326  PhD Aleksandra Golob  Biology  Researcher  2022 - 2024  115 
6.  37782  Mitja Kelemen    Technical associate  2021 - 2024  171 
7.  20070  PhD Aleš Kladnik  Biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  174 
8.  05007  PhD Darja Kocjan-Ačko  Plant production  Researcher  2021 - 2024  943 
9.  23964  Milena Kubelj    Technical associate  2021 
10.  20428  PhD Matevž Likar  Biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  281 
11.  54730  Anja Mavrič Čermelj  Biology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  15 
12.  53627  PhD Jure Mravlje  Biology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  52 
13.  12314  PhD Primož Pelicon  Physics  Researcher  2021 - 2024  584 
14.  25512  PhD Paula Pongrac  Biology  Head  2021 - 2024  285 
15.  12013  PhD Marjana Regvar  Biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  537 
16.  53463  PhD Pia Starič  Medical sciences  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  53 
17.  25442  PhD Martin Šala  Chemistry  Researcher  2021 - 2024  338 
18.  29862  PhD Primož Vavpetič  Physics  Researcher  2021 - 2024  233 
19.  21623  PhD Katarina Vogel Mikuš  Biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  615 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  20,922 
2.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,624 
3.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,240 
Among the important essential elements for humans is zinc (Zn) which is required for nearly all processes within our body. Too little Zn therefore affects many systems negatively. With insufficient Zn, we become more susceptible to infections and are less productive, and prolonged Zn deficiency can cause severe growth defects and impaired brain function. Substantial progress has been made in increasing concentrations of some of these elements in edible plant tissues and particularly in staple crops. The process is called biofortification. The increase in density of bioavailable essential mineral elements in a crop can be achieved through plant breeding, transgenic techniques, or agronomic practices. To further advance biofortification strategies in-depth understanding of the network of factors influencing Zn hyperaccumulation (extraordinary ability to accumulate concentrations of Zn considered toxic for majority of plants) and Zn homeostasis in leafy and grain crops is required. We propose to address the grand challenge of correlating quantitative information on the tissue-specific distribution of Zn and intrinsic gene expression network in a Zn hyperaccumulating model plant (Arabidopsis halleri), a leafy crop species (Brassica oleracea) and two staple grain crops, namely millet species (finger, pearl and proso millets) and wheat species differing in ploidity (selected diplod, tetraplod and hexaploids species/subspecies). The proposed project builds on several recent publications and preliminary results of the project team in which: i) variability of Zn concentration in leaves was determined for A. halleri grown in controlled environment and ii) RNAseq of roots and root traits of B. oleracea grown with contrasting Zn and P supply, which revealed candidate genes involved in Zn homeostasis. In addition, drought tolerant crop (different millet species) and wheat species differing in ploidity will be included to explore gene expression link with Zn-use efficiency and tissue specific accumulation of Zn and Zn ligands in the grain. To complement the information on gene network in these species a visualisation technique enabling quantitative element localisation micro-proton induced X-ray emission (micro-PIXE), will be employed to assess tissue-specific Zn accumulation. Micro-PIXE will be complemented with laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS), when larger sensitivity (<1 mg kg-1) and poorer resolution (1-20 µm) will be required. Comprising four work packages and twelve tasks the project will engage an interdisciplinary team comprising national and international experts in their respective fields, to deliver knowledge required by plant biologists, agronomists, food technologists, nutritionists, and quality control officials for the development of more nutritious food products. Numerous opportunities to participate in outreach activities within the institutes and universities participating, will enable the interaction with general public, promote the importance of plant nutrition for healthy communities, and the significance to address scientific questions in an interdisciplinary way. The project will enable extensive knowledge exchange by offering open-access to all results and will enable training of master and PhD students and early career scientists to obtain unique set of technical skills in cutting-edge technologies and to develop communication skills (written and oral) and project-management qualities.
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