Zinc bio-fortified wheat variety (WB-02)

Mr Rajesh Kumar, B.Sc.Ag. BAU, Sabour, India

In India wheat is considered as the second important staple after rice, where wheat is cultivated on about 31mha area with a production and productivity of 97.44 million tonnes (@ 31.72 q/hactare).

The country is divided into five agroclimatic zones on the basis of diverse production environments viz., Northern Hills zone (NHZ), North Western Plains Zone (NWPZ), North Eastern Plains Zone (NEPZ), Central Zone (CZ) and Peninsular Zone (PZ). Among all the zones, NWPZ of the country is the largest (60 % of total wheat production of the country) wheat producing zone with respect to area, production as well as productivity.

The demand for food grain production is increasing with the increase in population. these target wheat production by promoting higher yield potential coupled with disease resistance in the wheat varieties.

The newly wheat variety (WB-02 ) was released by Central Sub-committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of variety, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt of India vide. S.O. 1007(E) dated: 30.03.2017 for cultivation in the North Western Plains Zone of the country. WB 2 has recorded average yield of 51.6q/hactare and has shown yield superiority of 2.8% over the best check variety DPW 621-50 (50.2q/hactare over three years of testing under irrigated, timely sown conditions.

wheat crop

The newly biofortified bread wheat variety WB-02 with high content of zinc 42 PPM compare with normal wheat variety (30-35 PPM of zinc) developed by Ravish Chatrath, principal scientist, at Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR) that overcome the Zn deficiency to minimize the prevalence of malnutrition.

Zinc deficiency is characterized by growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function. In more severe cases, zinc deficiency causes hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin lesions. The Zn rich  new variety is also resistant to yellow, black and brown rusts.


Chartrah R et al 2018.  WB 2: A high yielding bread wheat variety for irrigated timely sown conditions of North Western Plains Zone of India, ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal, India(101): 40-44.

 Maret W and Sandstead HH 2006. Zinc requirements and the risks and benefits of zinc supplementation. J Trace Elem Med Biol ;20:3-18.

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