150 lines of bread wheat representing diverse origin and 25 lines of durum, spelt, einkorn and emmer wheat species were analysed for variation in micronutrient concentrations in grain. A subset of 26 bread wheat lines was grown at six sites or seasons to identify genetically determined differences in micronutrient concentrations. Substantial variation among the 175 lines existed in grain Fe, Zn and Se concentrations. Spelt, einkorn and emmer wheats appeared to contain higher Se concentration in grain than bread and durum wheats. Significant differences between bread wheat genotypes were found for grain Fe and Zn, but not Se concentration; the latter was influenced more by the soil supply. Grain Zn, but not Fe, concentration correlated negatively with grain yield, and there was a significant decreasing trend in grain Zn concentration with the date of variety release, suggesting that genetic improvement in yield has resulted in a dilution of Zn concentration in grain. Both grain Zn and Fe concentrations also correlated positively and significantly with grain protein content and P concentration, but the correlations with kernel size, kernel weight or bran yield were weak. The results from this study are useful for developing micronutrient biofortification strategies.
Journal of Cereal Science (2009) 49 (2) 290-295 [doi: 10.1016/j.jcs.2008.11.007]