Iodine biofortification and antioxidant capacity of lettuce: potential benefits for cultivation and human health
Iodine is considered an essential trace element for mammals, and its deficiency is related to numerous pathologies as severe as goitre, reproductive failure, mental retardation and brain damage, among others. Currently, about 30% of the world’s population are affected by this deficiency, and thus, in an attempt to ameliorate these nutritional disorders, we propose a biofortification programme with iodine by an application of different dosages and forms of this element (iodide versus iodate) in lettuce plants. In this work, a study has been made of the iodine concentration in roots and edible leaves and their influence on nutritional quality through an analysis of its antioxidant capacity. The results showed that the most appropriate application rates in hydroponic cultivation were 40 μM or lower in the form I− because these concentrations did not reduce biomass in the treated plants with respect to control plants and caused a foliar accumulation of this element that guarantees the viability of this type of programmes. Furthermore, these data are novel, given that the treated plants show a significant increase in antioxidant compounds after the application of iodine.