Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrient for all living organisms, including human beings, but it is not readily available. Consequently, Iron (Fe) deficiency is a major threat to the health and development of the human populations in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that nearly 3.7 billion people are iron deficient, with 2 billion of these being anemic (WHO, 2007). Iron deficiency is most prevalent in south Asian countries (Zlotkin et al. 2004). In Bangladesh about half of all children and 70 percent of all women in Bangladesh are anemic (Ahmed 2000). Bangladesh loses 2 percent of its gross domestic product to iron deficiency (Ross and Horton 1998). Inadequate intake of dietary Fe, in quantity and quality, is the primary cause of Fe deficiency in developing countries. A diet consisting of poor Fe sources is one major reason for inadequate Fe intake. Iron deficiency can be reduced by providing healthy foods, supplementation, and food fortification (Haas et al. 2005), but poor families, especially from developing countries like Bangladesh cannot afford these strategies.
Biofortification is defined as the process of breeding food crops that are rich in bioavailable micronutrients (Bouis 2003). Biofortification with Fe in staple foods provides a cost-effective solution to alleviate Fe deficiency in target populations globally (Nagesh et al. 2012). Biofortification has been considered the “second Green Revolution”. The Bangladesh diet is dominated (about 80 percent) by rice (Hels et al. 2003) and contains vegetables and lentils. Polished rice is a rich source of dietary energy but a poor source of vitamins and minerals. Lentils are a rich source of protein and several essential micronutrients (Fe, Zn, β-carotene) (Bhatty, 1988) and is eaten two or more times per day in Bangladesh, prepared as soup with rice, cooked with vegetables and fried (papar, peaaju, vaji). High protein content in lentils makes it a significant food source for developing countries and low income people (Hoover et al. 2010). Therefore biofortification of lentil may close the gap between Fe intakes and requirements, and hence alleviate Fe deficiency in Bangladesh.
Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) represent a wide variety of soil bacteria which grow in association with a host plant and stimulate the growth of their host by increasing nutrient mobility, uptake and enrichment in the plant (Cakmakci et al. 2006). The PGPR increase nutrient availability for plants in the rhizosphere region by direct or indirect mechanisms (Glick, 1995).The PGPR play an important role not only in cereal crops (Nain et al. 2010) but also for production of horticultural (Baset et al. 2010) and other crops (Gholami et al. 2009). The focus of this study is to demonstrate the role of PGPR isolated from different soils from Saskatoon on Fe uptake in the lentil plant.
2. Overall Hypotheses:
The application of plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPR) in the rhizosphere of...