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Title: Ionomic characterization of maize kernels in the Intermated B73 x Mo17 (IBM) population

item Baxter, Ivan
item GUSTIN, JEFFREY - University Of Florida
item SETTLES, MARK - University Of Florida
item Hoekenga, Owen

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2012
Publication Date: 11/26/2012
Citation: Baxter, I.R., Gustin, J.L., Settles, M.A., Hoekenga, O. 2012. Ionomic characterization of maize kernels in the Intermated B73 x Mo17 (IBM) population. Crop Science. 53:208-220.

Interpretive Summary: Human health and the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture all depend on the ability of crop plants to acquire and use mineral nutrient resources. The suite of mineral nutrients found in a crop plant are called the ionome, and the study of their interactions is called ionomics. Here we describe the ionome of maize grain samples grown on fields in Florida, New York and North Carolina. We describe correlations within and between our datasets, looking for the genetic factors that determine the ionome. We found several genetic factors that helped the maize plant acquire and store mineral nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorous on all of the sites. This is in spite of the dramatic differences in soil and climate between the three farm sites. This represents a starting position for improving the mineral nutrient quality of maize, to improve human health and enhance agricultural productivity.

Technical Abstract: Dietary mineral deficiencies affect nearly half of the people on our planet, largely due to poverty. Many people do not receive adequate calcium, iron, zinc, and other mineral nutrients from the food they grow or purchase. These kinds of dietary deficiencies create both acute and chronic health problems, which in turn can affect the economic productivity of whole nations. While solutions to these nutrient deficiencies are well known – eating diverse, nutritional complete diets and/or industrially fortified foods – these solutions do not work well for the rural poor, who produce a majority of their own foods. Instead, creating staple food crops with enhanced mineral nutritional quality, or biofortification, is an economically and scientifically more plausible and sustainable solution. To create biofortified crops, one must understand the genetic and environmental factors that influence the ionome, or collection of mineral nutrients, in the target organism and tissue. We describe the use of quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping to characterize the maize grain ionome illustrated by the Intermated B73 x Mo17 (IBM) recombinant inbred population. Ionomic profiling was applied to field grown materials from FL, NC and NY. Thirty-seven QTL were detected for ten traits from the NC and NY data, explaining up to 39% of variance observed. Models were additionally evaluated using the smaller FL dataset. These ionomic QTL represent a starting position for the biofortification of maize grain.