Chandigarh: The distinguished Punjab Agricultural University, celebrated for its pivotal role in the Green Revolution that propelled India into food self-sufficiency, is charting a new course. Transitioning from a focus on quantity to one on quality, and from food security to nutritional security, the institute has unveiled an extraordinary feat—a series of groundbreaking wheat varieties designed to bolster immunity and promote overall health.

Nurturing Nutritional Security

In a strategic shift, the Punjab Agricultural University has ventured beyond the confines of crop quantity and embraced the importance of nutritional quality. Through meticulous research and innovation, the institute has launched a succession of wheat varieties tailored to deliver essential nutrients and boost immune systems.

A Stride Towards Health

One of these remarkable wheat varieties, enriched with high amylose starch content, is known for its potential to mitigate the risks of type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular ailments, and obesity. Taking strides towards comprehensive health, the university’s dedication is further evident in the development of zinc-rich wheat, poised to enhance the immune system and regulate thyroid function.

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Key Highlights:

  • Punjab Agricultural University introduces revolutionary wheat varieties focused on boosting immunity and promoting health.
  • A transition from quantity to quality and from food security to nutritional security drives the university’s innovation.
  • High amylose starch content in wheat mitigates diabetes, cardiovascular risks, and obesity.
  • Zinc-rich wheat enhances immune systems and regulates thyroid function.
  • Collaborations with organizations like Markfed facilitate cultivation and marketing of nutrient-rich wheat varieties.
  • The university’s pursuit of nutritional security aligns with its mission to improve public health through agricultural advancements.

Addressing Nutrient Deficiencies

Vice-Chancellor SS Gosal underscored the university’s commitment to addressing nutritional deficiencies. As part of their wheat breeding program, extensive research on biofortification has been conducted to elevate micro-nutrient concentrations in grains. While acknowledging the global need for zinc and vitamin C supplementation to boost immunity, Gosal highlighted the university’s focus on enhancing wheat’s nutritional value.

Pioneering Agricultural Progress

Gosal emphasized the university’s pursuit of not only increasing foodgrain production but also elevating its quality. Over the decades, the university’s contribution to enhancing wheat yields has been transformative, yet the focus has now expanded to ensure that nutrient-rich, high-quality foodgrains are available to a vast population.

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A Journey of Innovation

Developing a new wheat variety involves meticulous research spanning 8-10 years. The Punjab Agricultural University harnesses the genetic diversity of wild varieties with abundant nutrients, crossbreeding them with high-yield strains to produce superior foodgrains. Notably, the university’s dedication extends to partnering with organizations like Markfed to facilitate cultivation and the marketing of these nutrient-rich wheat varieties.

A Vision for Nutritional Security

The university’s pursuit of nutritional security aligns seamlessly with its mission to improve public health through agricultural advancements. The university looks forward to receiving support from both state and central governments as it introduces these premium wheat varieties to the market.

As the university continues its transformative journey, Director of Research, Ajmer Singh Dhatt, highlighted that similar advancements are in progress for paddy varieties. These initiatives, however, will require time for comprehensive research and implementation. Evaluating the impact of these novel wheat varieties on human health will necessitate collaboration with medical experts.