Enhanced iron and zinc accumulation in transgenic rice with the ferritin gene

Marta Vasconcelos, Karabi Datta, Norman Oliva, Mohammad Khalekuzzaman, Lina Torrizo, Sellapan Krishnan, Margarida Oliveira, Fumyuki Goto, Swapan K. Datta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Citations (Scopus)


In this report, we show that the expression of the soybean ferritin gene, driven by the endosperm-specific glutelin promoter, leads to higher iron and zinc levels in transgenic indica rice grains. Brown rice is rarely consumed, and polishing of the rice grain brings considerable loss of micronutrients by removing its outer layers. No data until now have shown that after commercial milling the micronutrient concentration remains higher than that of the control. In our experiment, expression of the soybean ferritin gene under the control of the glutelin promoter in rice has proven to be effective in enhancing grain nutritional levels, not only in brown grains but also in polished grains. Besides determining the iron levels in transgenic rice grains, we also checked for zinc concentration, and it was found to be higher in transgenic seeds than in the control. Moreover, we introduced this gene in an elite indica rice line that has highly desirable agronomic and field-performance traits. Prussian blue staining reaction clearly revealed the presence of iron in the endosperm cells of transgenic rice grains, and immunolocalization revealed the presence of the expression gene in the endosperm of the transgenic material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Elite indica rice
  • Genetic engineering
  • Iron accumulation
  • Milling
  • Nutrition


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