, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 549-560
Date: 12 Mar 2009

Nutritionally relevant elements in staple foods: influence of arable site versus choice of variety

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Eighteen representative sites for the Austrian grain-growing and eight for the potato-growing zones (soils and crops) were investigated. On each site, total element contents (B, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, P, Sr and Zn) were determined in 4–12 varieties of winter wheat (n = 136), 6 varieties of spring durum wheat (n = 30), 5 varieties of winter durum wheat (n = 15), 7 varieties of rye (n = 49), 5 varieties of spring barley (n = 30) and 5 varieties of potatoes (n = 40). Element accumulations in grain species and potato tubers varied significantly with site conditions, with the main exceptions for B in potatoes and wheat as well as for Zn, Cu and Co in durum wheat. On average, across all investigated sites, differences in varieties occurred concerning the elements Ca, Cd, Ba, Sr and Zn (except Zn in potatoes and winter durum). A rough estimation revealed that an average Austrian consumer of wheat, rye and potatoes meets more than 50% of the needs of daily element intake for K, P and Mg, between 36 and 72% for Fe, Zn and Cu, and more than 100% for Co, Mo and Mn. In particular, the elements Ca and Na have to be added from other sources.