Indexed on: 01 Apr '98Published on: 01 Apr '98Published in: Euphytica
Greenhouse and growth chamber experiments were carried out using seven bread wheat (Triticum aestivum), three durum wheat (T. durum), two rye (Secale cereale), three barley (Hordeum vulgare), two triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack) and one oat (Avena sativa) cultivars to study response to zinc (Zn) deficiency and Zn fertilisation in nutrient solution and in a severely Zn deficient calcareous soil. Visual Zn deficiency symptoms, such as whitish-brown necrotic patches on leaf blades, developed rapidly and severely in the durum wheat and oat cultivars. Bread wheat showed great genotypic differences in sensitivity to Zn deficiency. In triticale and rye, visual deficiency symptoms were either absent or appeared only slightly, while barley showed a moderate sensitivity. When grown in soil, average decreases in shoot dry matter production due to Zn deficiency were 15% for rye, 25% for triticale, 34% for barley, 42% for bread wheat, 63% for oat and 65% for durum wheat. Differential Zn efficiency among and within cereal species was better related to the total amount of Zn per shoot, but not to the Zn concentration in the shoot dry matter. However, in leaves of Zn efficient rye and bread wheat cultivars, the activity of Zn-containing superoxide dismutase was greater than in Zn inefficient bread and durum wheat cultivars, suggesting higher amounts of physiologically active Zn in leaf tissue of efficient genotypes. When grown in nutrient solution, there was a poor relationship between Zn efficiency and release rate of Zn-chelating phytosiderophores from roots, but uptake of labelled Zn (65Zn) and its translocation to the shoot was higher in the Zn efficient rye and bread wheat cultivars than in inefficient bread and durum wheat cultivars. The results demonstrate that susceptibility of cereals to Zn deficiency decline in the order durum wheat > oat > bread wheat > barley > triticale > rye. The results also show that expression of high Zn efficiency in cereals was causally related to enhanced capability of genotypes to take up Zn from soils and use it efficiently in tissues.