The quest of breeders for food security, i.e. yield improvement, disease resistance and longer postharvest life, has mostly been at the expense of nutritional value (Rouphael et al. 2018). However, as described in chapter 2 in both low-income and high-income countries malnutrition is a serious issue. In Chapter 5 and in §5.2 and §5.3 specifically we have seen examples of the impact of environmental conditions on nutritional value of plants. The message from these paragraphs is that the cultivation conditions can have significant impact on the nutritional value of crops. But not only the environmental conditions, also the cultivar or species choice has a profound influence on the mineral- and phytochemical content of the edible produce. This paragraph contains some examples on the effects of cultivar, species and grafting on plant mineral and phytochemical content. Note while reading this chapter that high mineral content does not necessarily equal high bioavailability when these plants are used in a human diet. Nutrients can be bound to indigestible fibres or antinutrients like phytate can hinder nutrient uptake in the human gut.
Rouphael Y, Kyriacou MC, Petropoulos SA, De Pascale S, Colla G. 2018. Improving vegetable quality in controlled environments. Scientia Horticulturae 234: 275–289. DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2018.02.033.