As recommended by WHO, it is necessary to find alternative iodine sources in the diet. Iodine-biofortified vegetables and crop plants can be beneficial, as is an iodine prophylaxis supplement, based on iodization of the table salt. Iodine is a chemical element that promotes the growth of plants. Iodine absorbed by the plants can be safe and easily absorbed further by the human and farm animals. Animals can also suffer from diseases associated with iodine deficiency. This issue is particularly connected with the low concentration of iodine in the soil. Over the past decade, studies have been conducted in many countries on the physiology and biochemistry of iodine in plants. They enable us to submit a hypothesis concerning the possible use of biofortification of vegetables in prevention programmes.
In a project funded by the National Science Center (NCN), lettuce was enriched with iodine using mineral and organic iodine compounds. In vitro tests were performed with the use of cancer cell lines: gastric cancer, colon cancer and non-cancerous colon epithelium. These studies showed a positive effect of iodine biofortified lettuce extracts, reducing the viability and proliferation of cells of both tumor lines. This effect was not demonstrated for cells of the non-cancerous lineage. Currently, research on the process of apoptosis and the cell cycle is carried out in order to determine the mechanism responsible for the death of cancer cells.
The second task concerned the physiology and biochemistry of the plants. It was established that iodosalicylic acids and iodobenzoic acids as well as plant-derived thyroid hormone analogs eg. triiodothyronine (T3) are synthesized by control lettuce plants. T3 occurred in lettuce primarily in the sodium salt form (the concentration was significantly higher than unbound T3). Biofortification increased the content of all these iodine organic compounds and the total content in lettuce leaves.
This research was financed by the NCN, grant no. UMO-2017/25/B/NZ9/00312.
We offer research and campaigns for the implementation of agricultural principles of agroiodineprophylaxis and agroseleniumprophylaxis model into agricultural practice (I and Se regulate the functioning of eg., thyroid together). It would be advisable to create legal provisions regulating these processes.
The research offer / offer is addressed to: central and local government authorities, other universities, research centers and institutes, fertilizer production companies and plants in the food and pharmaceutical industry - especially those dealing in the processing of fruit and vegetable and herbal raw materials. Our research offer is also directed to companies producing or processing natural raw materials rich in iodine, selenium, zinc, iron and vanadium - we are guided by the idea of their possible use for fertilizing (biofortifying) plants.
University of Agriculture in Krakow