Zinc Content of Cereals and Pulses in Delhi


  • Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi,, Department of Food and Nutrition, Delhi, 110016, India
  • Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi,, Department of Biochemistry, Delhi, 110016, India


Severe zinc deficiency is rare in India but mild to moderate deficiency could be widespread. There is little data on zinc intakes based on nutritional assessment methods, mainly because the Indian Food Composition Tables that were available until recently gave incomplete zinc content values in foods. A pilot study was, therefore, undertaken to assess the zinc content of cereals and pulses consumed in Delhi and to compare the values with those given in the latest Indian Food Composition Tables. Four hundred and twenty six samples of twenty three varieties of cereals / cereal products and fifteen varieties of pulses, collected from wholesale suppliers in the north, south, east and west zones of Delhi, were analyzed for zinc using atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The concentration of zinc in a given cereal or pulse varied widely between the different zones. Cereals like pearl millet, Italian millet, dry maize, whole wheat and its flour and pulses like roasted Bengal gram and dry peas, Bengal gram dhal and lentil dhal were identified as rich sources of zinc. The mean zinc content in most of the foods analysed in the laboratory showed significant differences when compared with the mean values for cereals and pulses reported in the Indian Food Composition Tables given by the National Institute of Nutrition - Indian Council of Medical Research in 2017. A region specific food composition database is urgently needed as there seem to be huge differences in the zinc values of cereals and pulses consumed in Delhi as compared to the average values representative of all states given in the latest food composition database.


Zinc, cereals, pulses, food composition tables, nutritive value

Subject Collection


Subject Discipline

Nutrition; Food; Home Science

Full Text:


Tulchinsky, T.H. The key role of government in addressing the pandemic of micronutrient deficiency conditions in Southeast Asia. Nutrients, 2015, 7, 2518–2523.

The World Health Report 2002: Reducing risks, promoting healthy life. World Health Organization, 2002. http://www.who.int/whr/2002/en/whr02_en.pdf?ua=1.

Prasad, R., Shivay, Y.S. and Kumar, D. Zinc fertilization of cereals for increased production and alleviation of zinc malnutrition in India. Agric. Res., 2013, 2, 111–118.

Gopalan, C., Ramasastri, B.V., Balasubramanian, S.C., Narasinga Rao, B.S., Deosthale, Y.G.

and Pant, K.C. Nutritive Value of Indian Foods. National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, 1989.

Longvah, T., Ananthan, R., Bhaskarachary, K. and Venkaiah, K. Indian Food Composition Tables. National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, 2017.

FSSAI Manual of methods of analysis of foods. Metals. Lab. Manual 9. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, 2015. http://www.fssai.gov.in/Portals/0/Pdf/Draft_Manuals/METALS.pdf.

Ratan, P. and Kothiyal, P. Fagopyrum esculentum Moench (common buckwheat) edible plant of Himalayas: A review. Asian J. Phar. Life Sci., 2011, 1, 426–442.

Hemalatha, S., Patel, K. and Srinivasan, K. Zinc and iron contents and their bioaccessibility in cereals and pulses consumed in India. Food Chem., 2007, 102, 1328–1336.

Gouri, K. and Raza, S.H. Copper and zinc content in the food commodities of Hyderabad. In: Yunus, M., Singh, N. and Kok de, L.J. ed., Environmental Stress: Indication, Mitigation and Eco-conservation. Springer Science+ Business Media Dordrecht, 2000, 315–322.

Graham, R.D. and Rengel, Z. Genotypic variation in zinc uptake and utilization by plants.

In: Robson A.D. ed., Zinc in Soils and Plants. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. The Netherlands. 1993, 107–114.

Erenoglu, B., Eker, S., Cakmak, I., Derici, R. and Romheld, V. Effect of iron and zinc deficiency on release of phytosiderophores in barley cultivars differing in zinc efficiency. J. Plant. Nutr., 2000, 23, 1645–1656.

Pederson, B. and Eggum, B.O. The influence of milling on the nutritive value of flour from cereal grains. Plant Food. Hum. Nutr., 1983, 33, 267–278.

Graham, R.D., Welch, R.M. and Bouis, H.E. Addressing micronutrients malnutrition through enhancing the nutritional quality of staple foods: Principles, perspectives and knowledge gaps. Adv. Agron., 2001, 70, 77–142.

Cakmak, I. Plant nutrition research: Priorities to meet human needs for food in sustainable ways. Plant Soil, 2002, 247, 3–24.

Bitar, K. and Reinhold, J.G. Phytase and alkaline phosphatase activities in intestinal mucosae of rat, chicken, calf and man. Biochim. Biophys. Acta., 1972, 268, 442–452.

Cheryan, M. Phytic acid interactions in food systems. CRC Crit. Rev. Fd. Sci. Nutr., 1980, 13, 297–334.

Lag, J. General survey of Geomedicine. In: Lag, J. ed., Geomedicine. Boca Raton: CRC, 1990, 1–24.

Graham, R., Senadhira, D., Beebe, S., Iglesias, C. and Monasterio, I. Breeding for micronutrient density in edible portions of staple food crops: conventional approaches. Field Crops Res., 1999, 60, 57–80.

Garvin, D.F., Welch, R.M. and Finley, J.W. Historical shifts in the seed mineral micronutrient concentration of US hard red winter wheat germplasm. J. Sci. Food Agric., 2006, 86, 2213–2220.

Gupta, A.P. Micronutrient status and fertilizer use scenario in India. J. Trace Elem. Med. Bio., 2005, 18, 325–331.


  • There are currently no refbacks.