Skip to main content
Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Developing germplasm and promoting consumption of anthocyanin-rich grains for health benefits

Dwivedi, Sangam L.; Mattoo, Autar K.; Garg, Monika; Dutt, Som; Singh, Brajesh; Ortiz Rios, Rodomiro Octavio


Malnutrition, unhealthy diets, and lifestyle changes are the major risk factors for overweight and obesity-linked chronic diseases in humans adversely impact achieving sustainable development goals. Colored grains are a source of anthocyanins, a group of flavonoids, that contribute positively to human health. This review focuses on genetic variation harnessed through breeding and biotechnology tools for developing anthocyanin-rich grain crops. Agronomic practices, genotype × environment interactions, different stresses, seed development and seed maturity are factors that impact the content and composition of anthocyanins. Significant progress has been made in characterizing genes associated with anthocyanin biosynthesis in cereal and other crops. Breeding has led to the development and release of grain anthocyanin-rich crop cultivars in Europe, America and in some countries in Asia. Notably, genetic engineering utilizing specific transcription factors and gene editing has led to the development of anthocyanin-rich genetic variants without any significant yield penalty. A variety of food products derived from colored grains or flours are now available in grocery stores and supermarkets worldwide. The public perception about anthocyanin-rich food is positive, but availability, affordability, and willingness to pay a higher price than before limit consumption. Together with other seed nutrition traits in breeding programs the inclusion of anthocyanins can ensure the development of cultivars that meet nutrition needs of humans, especially in the developing world.


food bioactives; malnutrition; human health; biotechnology; cereal crops

Published in

Frontiers in sustainable food systems
2022, volume: 6, article number: 867897

Authors' information

Dwivedi, Sangam L.
No organisation
Mattoo, Autar K.
USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory
Garg, Monika
National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute
Dutt, Som
Central Potato Research Institute
Singh, Brajesh
Central Potato Research Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and well-being
SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science
Genetics and Breeding

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)