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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Relationship between yield and mineral nutrient concentrations is historical and modern spring wheat cultivars

Authors
item Murphy, Kevin - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV
item Reeves, Phillip
item Jones, Stephen - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Euphytica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 14, 2008
Publication Date: April 3, 2008
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/18934
Citation: Murphy, K.M., Reeves, P.G., Jones, S.S. 2008. Relationship between yield and mineral nutrient concentrations is historical and modern spring wheat cultivars. Euphytica. 163:381-390.

Interpretive Summary: Approximately three billion people worldwide are deficient in mineral nutrients and most of the world's poorest people are dependent on staple food crops as their primary source of these nutrients. One way to solve the problem of nutrient deficiencies is for plant breeders, cereal chemists, and nutritionists to cooperate in the selection of varieties of staple crops with high levels of mineral nutrient content. We evaluated 63 historical and modern wheat varieties for grain yield and mineral nutrient content of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. We report that while grain yield has increased, mineral nutrient content has decreased significantly in modern varieties compared with historical varieties for all minerals except calcium. The decrease in mineral content over time was found primarily in the soft white wheat, while that in hard red wheat remained largely constant. This suggests that plant breeders, through selection of low ash content in soft white wheat varieties, have contributed to the decreased mineral nutrient content in modern wheat. In addition, a genetically based, biological trade-off for yield/mineral content does not appear to exist and plant breeders should be able to increase the mineral content in modern varieties with genetic variation present in historical varieties without reducing yield. Our results show that to achieve the same percentage of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) obtained by consuming whole-wheat bread from historical varieties high in mineral content a person would need to increase their consumption of bread made from modern wheat varieties.

Technical Abstract: Approximately three billion people worldwide are nutrient deficient and most of the world's poorest people are dependent on staple food crops as their primary source of micronutrients. One component of the solution to nutrient deficiencies is the collaboration among plant breeders, cereal chemists, and nutritionists with the objective to select for staple crops varieties with increased levels of mineral nutrient content. We evaluated 63 historical and modern wheat varieties for grain yield and mineral nutrient content of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. Here we report that while grain yield has increased, mineral nutrient content has decreased significantly in modern varieties for all minerals except calcium. The decrease in mineral content over time is found primarily in the soft white wheat market class, while the hard red market class has remained largely constant. This indicates that plant breeders, through selection of low ash content in soft white wheat varieties, have contributed to the decreased mineral nutrient in modern wheat cultivars. In addition, a genetically based, biological trade-off for yield/mineral content does not appear to exist and plant breeders should be able to increase mineral content in modern varieties through use of genetic variation present in historical varieties without negatively affecting yield. Our results show that modern wheat varieties require increased consumption of whole wheat bread to achieve the same percentage of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) levels attainable by historical varieties high in mineral content.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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