Foliar applied zinc increases yield, zinc concentration, and germination in wheat genotypes
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Human malnutrition associated with zinc (Zn) deficiency is a growing problem in many areas. This study was conducted to assess wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypic variation of grain Zn concentration, grain germination, and grain yield in response to foliar application of Zn. Twenty-four wheat genotypes, including several recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and commercial cultivars, were assessed in two separate experiments; one experiment sprayed with ZnSO4.7H(2)O dissolved in water at wheat heading growth stage and one without applying Zn foliar treatment. The range for grain (25.1-63.1) and endosperm (1.2-61.6 mg kg(-1)) Zn concentrations were different between the two Zn treatments. Significant (p = .05) genotype x Zn treatment interactions showed that some genotypes were more responsive to Zn applications than others. The application of Zn increased the Zn concentration in the endosperm in 18 out of the 24 genotypes. For grain, Zn application increased the concentration in the grain in 21 out of the 24 genotypes. Grain yield and germination were increased in the Zn treated cultivars compared with non-treated. In conclusion, foliar application of Zn improved traits in wheat, and identified genetic variation lays the foundation for genotype selection with respect to higher Zn concentration.
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