Improvement of nutritional quality of food crops with fertilizer: a global meta-analysis

Ishfaq, Muhammad and Wang, Yongqi and Xu, Jiuliang and Hassan, Mahmood Ul and Yuan, Hao and Liu, Lianlian and He, Boyi and Ejaz, Irsa and White, Philip J. and Çakmak, İsmail and Chen, Wei Shan and Wu, Jiechen and Van der Werf, Wopke and Li, Chunjian and Zhang, Fusuo and Li, Xuexian (2023) Improvement of nutritional quality of food crops with fertilizer: a global meta-analysis. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 43 (6). ISSN 1774-0746 (Print) 1773-0155 (Online)

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Providing the world’s population with sufficient and nutritious food through sustainable food systems is a major challenge of the twenty-first century. Fertilizer use is a major driver of crop yield, but a comprehensive synthesis of the effect of fertilizer on the nutritional quality of food crops is lacking. Here we performed a comprehensive global meta-analysis using 7859 data pairs from 551 field experiment-based articles published between 1972 and 2022, assessing the contribution of fertilization with a wide set of plant nutrients to the nutritional quality of food crops (i.e., fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses/oil crops, and sugar crops). On average, fertilizer application improved crop yield by 30.9% (CI: 28.2–33.7%) and nutritional quality (referring to all nutritionally relevant components assessed; carbohydrates, proteins, oil, vitamin C, representative mineral nutrients, and total soluble solids) by 11.9% (CI: 10.7–12.1%). The improvements were largely nutrient- and crop species dependent, with vegetables being the most responsive. Potassium, magnesium, and micronutrients played important roles in promoting crop nutritional quality, whereas the combined application of inorganic and organic source(s) had the greatest impact on quality. Desirable climatic conditions and soil properties (i.e., silt loam, soil organic matter 2.5–5.0%, and pH 4.5–8.5) supported further enhancements. Considering cross-continent responsiveness, the increase in the nutritional quality of food crops with fertilizer application was greatest in Africa. In a nutshell, our findings pave the way towards a quantitative understanding of nutrient management programs and responsible plant nutrition solutions that foster the sustainable production of nutritious and healthy food crops for human consumption.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agriculture production; Biofortification; Food security; Human health; Soil and environmental conditions; Soil fertility and plant nutrition
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Depositing User: İsmail Çakmak
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2024 21:40
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2024 21:40

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