The effect of the zinc (Zn) nutritional status on the rate of phytosiderophore release was studied in nutrient solution over 20 days in four bread wheat (Triticum aestivum cvs. Kiraç-66, Gerek-79, Aroona and Kirkpinar) and four durum wheat (Triticum durum cvs. BDMM-19, Kunduru-1149, Kiziltan-91 and Durati) genotypes differing in Zn efficiency.
Visual Zn deficiency symptoms, such as whitish-brown necrosis on leaves and reduction in plant height appeared first and more severe in Zn-inefficient durum wheat genotypes Kiziltan-91, Durati and Kunduru-1149. Compared to the bread wheat genotypes, all durum wheat genotypes were more sensitive to Zn deficiency. BDMM-19 was the least affected durum wheat genotype. Among the bread wheat genotypes, Kirkpinar was the most sensitive genotype. In all genotypes well supplied with Zn, the rate of phytosiderophore release was very low and did not exceed 1 μmol 32 plants-1 3h-1, or 0.5 μmol g-1 root dry wt 3h-1. However, under Zn deficiency, with the onset of visual Zn deficiency symptoms, the release of phytosiderophores was enhanced in bread wheat genotypes up to 7.5 μmol 32 plants-1 3h-1, or 9 μmol g-1 root dry wt 3h-1, particularly in Zn-efficient Kiraç-66, Gerek-79 and Aroona. In contrast to bread wheat genotypes, phytosiderophore release in Zn-deficient durum wheat genotypes remained at a very low rate. Among the durum wheat genotypes BDMM-19 had highest rate of phytosiderophore release. HPLC analysis of root exudates showed that 2′-deoxymugineic acid (DMA) is the dominating phytosiderophore released from roots of Zn-efficient genotypes. In root extracts concentration of DMA was also much higher in Zn-efficient than in inefficient genotypes. The results demonstrate that enhanced synthesis and release of phytosiderophores at deficient Zn supply is involved in Zn efficiency in wheat genotypes. It is suggested that the expression of Zn efficiency mechanism is causally related to phytosiderophore-mediated enhanced mobilization of Zn from sparingly soluble Zn pools and from adsorption sites, both in the rhizosphere and plants.