BOOMERANG : Healthier bio-fortified Mediterranean grains

Project identifier 178-BOOMERANG
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2019-04-01
End date 2022-03-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: Improved nutritional value
  • Type of Project Development and innovation oriented (research) project
    Programme PRIMA
    Keyword biofortification; micronutrient grains
    Location Algeria; Tunisia; Egypt; Spain; Italy; Turkey
    Budget 1 120 009
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
  • Cooperativa Arrossaires del Delta de L'Ebre S.C.C.L.
  • Italian Brewing Research Centre (CERB) - University of Perugia
  • Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean (ISAFOM), CNR
  • Giresun University
  • Heliopolis University
  • German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce AHK (GACIC)
  • Rose Blanche Group
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Center in Tunisia
  • Algeria National Agronomic Research institute (INRAA)
  • Documents PRIMA funded projects 2018



    Some soils in the Mediterranean area are poor on selected minerals, and so are the plants that grow on it. Low Selenium concentrations are found in arid areas with high pH and low clay content, conditions quite prevalent on the Mediterranean area. An important part of the population suffers from dietary deficiency on essential micronutrients as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn) and Selenium (Se). It is reported that ~1.6·109 people suffer iron deficiency, with zinc deficiency being equally serious as ~1/3 of the population suffer Zn deficiency that is considered the 5th leading risk factor for diseases. Se deficiency is widespread as its concentration on soils tend to be limiting, and the cultivated products and the animals feed with it have the tendency to be deficient.


    The main objective is to improve the quality of Mediterranean grains by means of different biofortification to obtain micronutrient dense grains. These biofortified grains will improve the nutrition status of the consumers, while allowing the producers to offer a more valuable product. On one hand, there is the already known concept “from soil to seed” that in our proposal will be focused on the selection of most promising landraces from the local repertoire of variability and to assay the effect of agronomical techniques on the Se, Fe and Zn content of the cereals obtained. Foliar fertilisation can be an approach to increase mineral content more efficient than soil fertilisation, and this is especially relevant for a relatively scarce element as Se. On the other hand, we know the changes produced during seed germination causes changes on malted cereals. Vitamin content can increase, and mineral content can be modified by changing the composition of the stepping water without losing the added minerals to the drain.

    Expected impacts

    The expected impact is to increase Fe, Zn and Se content (by 50-75%) on the biofortified grains, to cover at least 20% RDI. of the population of a region with a continuous and increasing demographic pressure. Ensuring a 20% RDI on Zn will reduce by 10% Disability‐Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). Each DALYs saved are valued at $1000 each, so it may have an impact of 100,000 € on each million people consuming biofortified grains. On germinated grains, the synthesis of enzymes and other proteins would include the metals in a more bioavailable organic form, with the plus of a modification on vitamin profile and some other bioactive substances to consolidate a healthier diet, like GABA in rice. Besides, BOOMERANG contributes to keep providing jobs and supporting local rural and urban economies as food sector is a strategic one in the whole Mediterranean area in terms of employment, livelihoods of rural population, opportunities for job creations and territorial development.