Ross M. Welch
Other affiliations: United States Department of Agriculture, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Córdoba (Spain) ...read more
Bio: Ross M. Welch is an academic researcher from Cornell University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Bioavailability & Zinc. The author has an hindex of 66, co-authored 167 publications receiving 14233 citations. Previous affiliations of Ross M. Welch include United States Department of Agriculture & Baylor College of Medicine.
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: The world's agricultural community should adopt plant breeding and other genetic technologies to improve human health, and the world's nutrition and health communities should support these efforts.
Abstract: Over three billion people are currently micronutrient (i.e. micronutrient elements and vitamins) malnourished, resulting in egregious societal costs including learning disabilities among children, increased morbidity and mortality rates, lower worker productivity, and high healthcare costs, all factors diminishing human potential, felicity, and national economic development. Nutritional deficiencies (e.g. iron, zinc, vitamin A) account for almost two-thirds of the childhood death worldwide. Most of those afflicted are dependent on staple crops for their sustenance. Importantly, these crops can be enriched (i.e. ‘biofortified’) with micronutrients using plant breeding and/ or transgenic strategies, because micronutrient enrichment traits exist within their genomes that can to used for substantially increasing micronutrient levels in these foods without negatively impacting crop productivity. Furthermore, ‘proof of concept’ studies have been published using transgenic approaches to biofortify staple crops (e.g. high b-carotene ‘golden rice’ grain, high ferritin-Fe rice grain, etc). In addition, micronutrient element enrichment of seeds can increase crop yields when sowed to micronutrient-poor soils, assuring their adoption by farmers. Bioavailability issues must be addressed when employing plant breeding and/or transgenic approaches to reduce micronutrient malnutrition. Enhancing substances (e.g. ascorbic acid, S-containing amino acids, etc) that promote micronutrient bioavailability or decreasing antinutrient substances (e.g. phytate, polyphenolics, etc) that inhibit micronutrient bioavailability, are both options that could be pursued, but the latter approach should be used with caution. The world’s agricultural community should adopt plant breeding and other genetic technologies to improve human health, and the world’s nutrition and health communities should support these efforts. Sustainable solutions to this enormous global problem of ‘hidden hunger’ will not come without employing agricultural approaches.
TL;DR: HarvestPlus seeks to develop and distribute cultivars of food staples that are high in Fe, Zn, and provitamin A through an interdisciplinary global alliance of scientific institutions and implementing agencies in developing and developed countries.
Abstract: Minerals and vitamins in food staples eaten widely by the poor may be increased either through conventional plant breeding or through use of transgenic techniques, a process known as biofortification. HarvestPlus seeks to develop and distribute cultivars of food staples (rice [Oryza sativa L.], wheat [Triticum aestivum L.], maize [Zea mays L.], cassava [Manihot esculenta Crantz], pearl millet [Pennisetum americanum Leeke], beans [Phaseolus vulgaris L.], sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas L.]) that are high in Fe, Zn, and provitamin A through an interdisciplinary global alliance of scientific institutions and implementing agencies in developing and developed countries. Biofortified crops offer a rural-based intervention that, by design, initially reaches these more remote populations, which comprise a majority of the undernourished in many countries, and then penetrates to urban populations as production surpluses are marketed. Thus, biofortification complements fortification and supplementation programs, which work best in centralized urban areas and then reach into rural areas with good infrastructure. Initial investments in agricultural research at a central location can generate high recurrent benefits at low cost as adapted biofortified cultivars become widely available in countries across time at low recurrent costs. Overall, three things must happen for biofortification to be successful. First, the breeding must be successful—high nutrient density must be combined with high yields and high profitability. Second, efficacy must be demonstrated—the micronutrient status of human subjects must be shown to improve when consuming the biofortified cultivars as normally eaten. Third, the biofortified crops must be adopted by farmers and consumed by those suffering from micronutrient malnutrition in significant numbers.
TL;DR: This review briefly summarizes the current knowledge of micronutrients in plants and presents some new speculations on the mechanisms ofmicronutrient uptake and translocation in plants.
Abstract: Currently, there are eight trace elements considered to be essential for higher plants, Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Ni, B, Mo, and Cl. Possibly, other elements will be discovered to be essential because of recent advances in nutrient solution culture techniques and in the commercial availability of highly sensitive analytical instrumentation for elemental analysis. Much remains to be learned about the physiology of micronutrient absorption, translocation and deposition in plants, and about the functions they perform in plant growth and development. This review briefly summarizes the current knowledge of micronutrients in plants and than presents some new speculations on the mechanisms of micronutrient uptake and translocation in plants.
TL;DR: The case for and the rationale behind the project that is underway to improve the micronutrient quality of some staple food crops is reviewed, an overview of the results to date is given, and the critical issues that still remain to be confronted are looked at.
Abstract: Five years ago, with international funding, several international agricultural research centers set out to explore the potential to improve the micronutrient quality of some staple food crops Five objectives were identified, and all needed a favorable result if breeding for higher micronutrient density in the staples were to be deemed feasible Useful genetic variation to exploit was needed The traits needed to be manageable in a breeding program (simple screening and high heritability), and stable across a wide range of environments if impact was to be large Above all, the traits needed to be combinable with traits for high yield to ensure that farmers chose the improved lines Finally, it was necessary to show that the new types actually improved the health of humans of low nutrient status representing the target populations The extra nutrients needed to be bioavailable to the gut Today, only this last essential criterion remains to be fully satisfied All other criteria are met to levels that lead us to claim that breeding for nutritional quality is a viable, practicable, and cost-effective strategy to complement existing interventionist strategies Subject to satisfying the last criterion, and results are encouraging, we call for a major funding initiative, and the installation of a new paradigm for 21st century agriculture: one espousing food systems that are highly productive, sustainable, and nutritious This paper reviews the case for and the rationale behind the project that is underway, gives an overview of the results to date and looks at the critical issues that still remain to be confronted
TL;DR: It is suggested that ways in which agriculture can contribute to finding sustainable solutions to food system failures through holistic food-based system approaches, thereby closely linking agricultural production to improving human health, livelihood and well being are considered.
Abstract: Micronutrient malnutrition (‘Hidden Hunger’) now afflicts over two billion people worldwide, resulting in poor health, low worker productivity, high rates of mortality and morbidity, increased rates of chronic diseases (coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes), and permanent impairment of cognitive abilities of infants born to micronutrient-deficient mothers. The consequences of food system failures include lethargic national development efforts, continued high population growth rates, and a vicious cycle of poverty for massive numbers of underprivileged people in all nations. Our food systems are failing us globally by not providing enough balanced nutrient output to meet all the nutritional needs of every person, especially resource-poor women, infants and children in developing countries. Agriculture is partly responsible because it has never held nutrient output as an explicit goal of its production systems. Indeed, many agricultural policies have fostered a decline in nutrition and diet diversity for the poor in many countries. Nutrition and health communities are also partly responsible because they have never considered using agriculture as a primary tool in their programs directed at alleviating poor nutrition and ill health globally. Now is the time for a new paradigm for agriculture and nutrition. We must consider ways in which agriculture can contribute to finding sustainable solutions to food system failures through holistic food-based system approaches, thereby closely linking agricultural production to improving human health, livelihood and well being. Such action will stimulate support for agricultural research in many developed countries because it addresses consumer issues as well as agricultural production issues and is, therefore, politically supportable. # 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
01 Jan 1984
TL;DR: The Biosphere The Anthroposphere Soils and Soil Processes Weathering Processes Pedogenic Processes Soil Constituents Trace Elements Minerals Organic Matter Organisms in Soils Trace Elements in Plants.
Abstract: Chapter 1 The Biosphere Chapter 2 The Anthroposphere Introduction Air Pollution Water Pollution Soil Plants Chapter 3 Soils and Soil Processes Introduction Weathering Processes Pedogenic Processes Chapter 4 Soil Constituents Introduction Trace Elements Minerals Organic Matter Organisms in Soils Chapter 5 Trace Elements in Plants Introduction Absorption Translocation Availability Essentiality and Deficiency Toxicity and Tolerance Speciation Interaction Chapter 6 Elements of Group 1 (Previously Group Ia) Introduction Lithium Rubidium Cesium Chapter 7 Elements of Group 2 (Previously Group IIa) Beryllium Strontium Barium Radium Chapter 8 Elements of Group 3 (Previously Group IIIb) Scandium Yttrium Lanthanides Actinides Chapter 9 Elements of Group 4 (Previously Group IVb) Titanium Zirconium Hafnium Chapter 10 Elements of Group 5 (Previously Group Vb) Vanadium Niobium Tantalum Chapter 11 Elements of Group 6 (Previously Group VIb) Chromium Molybdenum Tungsten Chapter 12 Elements of Group 7 (Previously Group VIIb) Manganese Technetium Rhenium Chapter 13 Elements of Group 8 (Previously Part of Group VIII) Iron Ruthenium Osmium Chapter 14 Elements of Group 9 (Previously Part of Group VIII) Cobalt Rhodium Iridium Chapter 15 Elements of Group 10 (Previously Part of Group VIII) Nickel Palladium Platinum Chapter 16 Elements of Group 11 (Previously Group Ib) Copper Silver Gold Chapter 17 Trace Elements of Group 12 (Previously of Group IIb) Zinc Cadmium Mercury Chapter 18 Elements of Group 13 (Previously Group IIIa) Boron Aluminum Gallium Indium Thallium Chapter 19 Elements of Group I4 (Previously Group IVa) Silicon Germanium Tin Lead Chapter 20 Elements of Group 15 (Previously Group Va) Arsenic Antimony Bismuth Chapter 21 Elements of Group 16 (Previously Group VIa) Selenium Tellurium Polonium Chapter 22 Elements of Group 17 (Previously Group VIIa) Fluorine Chlorine Bromine Iodine
TL;DR: In this article, a review of the role of organic acids in rhizosphere processes is presented, which includes information on organic acid levels in plants (concentrations, compartmentalisation, spatial aspects, synthesis), plant efflux (passive versus active transport, theoretical versus experimental considerations), soil reactions (soil solution concentrations, sorption) and microbial considerations (mineralization).
Abstract: Organic acids, such as malate, citrate and oxalate, have been proposed to be involved in many processes operating in the rhizosphere, including nutrient acquisition and metal detoxification, alleviation of anaerobic stress in roots, mineral weathering and pathogen attraction. A full assessment of their role in these processes, however, cannot be determined unless the exact mechanisms of plant organic acid release and the fate of these compounds in the soil are more fully understood. This review therefore includes information on organic acid levels in plants (concentrations, compartmentalisation, spatial aspects, synthesis), plant efflux (passive versus active transport, theoretical versus experimental considerations), soil reactions (soil solution concentrations, sorption) and microbial considerations (mineralization). In summary, the release of organic acids from roots can operate by multiple mechanisms in response to a number of well-defined environmental stresses (e.g., Al, P and Fe stress, anoxia): These responses, however, are highly stress- and plant-species specific. In addition, this review indicates that the sorption of organic acids to the mineral phase and mineralisation by the soil's microbial biomass are critical to determining the effectiveness of organic acids in most rhizosphere processes.
TL;DR: It is proposed that, above all in response to acute cadmium stress, various mechanisms might operate both in an additive and in a potentiating way, and a holistic and integrated approach seems to be necessary in the study of the response of higher plants to Cadmium.
Abstract: The paper summarizes present knowledge in the field of higher plant responses to cadmium, an important environmental pollutant. The principal mechanisms reviewed here include phytochelatin-based sequestration and compartmentalization processes, as well as additional defense mechanisms, based on cell wall immobilization, plasma membrane exclusion, stress proteins, stress ethylene, peroxidases, metallothioneins, etc. An analysis of data taken from the international literature has been carried out, in order to highlight possible ‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’ differences in the response of wild-type (non-tolerant) plants to chronic and acute cadmium stress. The dose-response relationships indicate that plant response to low and high cadmium level exposures is a very complex phenomenon indeed: cadmium evokes a number of parallel and/or consecutive events at molecular, physiological and morphological levels. We propose that, above all in response to acute cadmium stress, various mechanisms might operate both in an additive and in a potentiating way. Thus, a holistic and integrated approach seems to be necessary in the study of the response of higher plants to cadmium. This multi-component model, which we would call ‘fan-shaped’ response, may accord with the Selyean ‘general adaptation syndrome’ hypothesis. While cadmium detoxification is a complex phenomenon, probably under polygenic control, cadmium ‘real’ tolerance—found in mine plants or in plant systems artificially grown under long-term selection pressure, exposed to high levels of cadmium—seems to be a simpler phenomenon, possibly involving only monogenic/oligogenic control. We conclude that, following a ‘pyramidal’ model, (adaptive) tolerance is supported by (constitutive) detoxification mechanisms, which in turn rely on (constitutive) homeostatic processes. The shift between homeostasis and ‘fan-shaped’ response can be rapid and involve quick changes in (poly)gene expression. Differently, the slow shift from ‘fan-shaped’ response to ‘real’ cadmium tolerance is caused and affected by long-term selection pressure, which may increase the frequency (and promote the expression) of one or a few tolerance gene(s).
TL;DR: Biological mechanisms of toxic metal uptake, translocation and resistance as well as strategies for improving phytoremediation are also discussed.
Abstract: Toxic metal pollution of waters and soils is a major environmental problem, and most conventional remediation approaches do not provide acceptable solutions. The use of specially selected and engineered metal-accumulating plants for environmental clean-up is an emerging technology called phytoremediation. Three subsets of this technology are applicable to toxic metal remediation: (1) Phytoextraction--the use of metal-accumulating plants to remove toxic metals from soil; (2) Rhizofiltration--the use of plant roots to remove toxic metals from polluted waters; and (3) Phytostabilization--the use of plants to eliminate the bioavailability of toxic metals in soils. Biological mechanisms of toxic metal uptake, translocation and resistance as well as strategies for improving phytoremediation are also discussed.
TL;DR: This review examines how variation in the relative availability of N and P, as reflected by N : P ratios of plant biomass, influences vegetation composition and functioning.
Abstract: Contents Summary I Introduction II Variability of N : P ratios in response to nutrient supply III Critical N : P ratios as indicators of nutrient limitation IV Interspecific variation in N : P ratios V Vegetation properties in relation to N : P ratios VI Implications of N : P ratios for human impacts on ecosystems VII Conclusions Acknowledgements References Summary Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability limit plant growth in most terrestrial ecosystems. This review examines how variation in the relative availability of N and P, as reflected by N : P ratios of plant biomass, influences vegetation composition and functioning. Plastic responses of plants to N and P supply cause up to 50-fold variation in biomass N : P ratios, associated with differences in root allocation, nutrient uptake, biomass turnover and reproductive output. Optimal N : P ratios – those of plants whose growth is equally limited by N and P – depend on species, growth rate, plant age and plant parts. At vegetation level, N : P ratios 20 often (not always) correspond to N- and P-limited biomass production, as shown by short-term fertilization experiments; however long-term effects of fertilization or effects on individual species can be different. N : P ratios are on average higher in graminoids than in forbs, and in stress-tolerant species compared with ruderals; they correlate negatively with the maximal relative growth rates of species and with their N-indicator values. At vegetation level, N : P ratios often correlate negatively with biomass production; high N : P ratios promote graminoids and stress tolerators relative to other species, whereas relationships with species richness are not consistent. N : P ratios are influenced by global change, increased atmospheric N deposition, and conservation managment.