1 Centre for Plant Breeding and Genetics, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, India

2 Dryland Agricultural Research Station, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Sivagangai


The green revolution fulfilled the food demand of crowded millions. From the time of green revolution to till date high yielding and fertilizer responsive varieties have evolved to increase the production per unit area. To improve the productivity only major nutrients are concentrated almost in all crops. Though the importance of micronutrient realized during past decades in most of the crops but it is not effectively materialized in general crop cultivation practices. The micronutrient deficiencies in soil are not only hamper crop productivity but also deteriorating the produce quality. World health organization (WHO) has estimated that over 3 billion people in the globe suffer from the micronutrient malnutrition and about 2 billion people of these have iron deficiency. Iron is one of the 16 essential elements needed for plant growth. Iron is used for the synthesis of chlorophyll and is essential for the function of chloroplasts. Zinc is involved in membrane integrity, enzyme activation, and gene expression. Rice, sorghum and corn are Zn sensitive and sorghum, sugarcane, groundnut, soyabean, beans, grapes, vegetables and citrus are highly Fe sensitive crops. To overcome these problems foliar spray is being recommended but it is not crop specific or soil specific recommendation. Keeping these problems in the view, recently development of micronutrient efficient genotypes, creating awareness of micronutrient dose, crop specific micronutrient uptake and accumulation are vital to improve productivity and to address human health problems. In this paper we discussed the importance of iron and zinc in agriculture and their role in crop plants and ways to improve the crop productivity as well as human health.