Mineral bioavailability in grains of Pakistani bread wheat declines from old to current cultivars
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Estimating variation in grain mineral concentration and bioavailability in relation to grain yield and the year of cultivar release is important for breeding wheat with increased content of bioavailable minerals. The grain yield and yield components, grain phytate concentration, and concentration and bioavailability of minerals (zinc Zn, iron Fe and calcium Ca) in wheat grains were estimated in 40 wheat cultivars released in Punjab (Pakistan) during the last five decades. Mean grain Zn and Ca concentrations in current-cultivars were significantly lower (≥14%) than in obsolete cultivars released during the Green Revolution (1965–1976). Much of this variation was related to increased grain weight in current-cultivars. There was a positive correlation among minerals (r = 0.39 or higher, n = 40) and minerals with phytate in wheat grains (r = 0.38 or higher, n = 40). The tested cultivars varied widely in grain yield and grain phytate-to-mineral molar ratios (phytate:mineral). Compared to obsolete cultivars, the current-cultivars had a higher phytate:mineral ratio in grains, indicating poor bioavailability of minerals to humans. The study revealed a non-significant relationship between grain yield and phytate:mineral ratios in grains. Therefore, breeding for lower phytate:mineral ratios in wheat grains can ensure increased mineral bioavailability without significant reduction in the yield potential. Future breeding should be focused on developing new genotypes suitable for mineral biofortification and with increased mineral bioavailability in grains.
KeywordsBioavailability Biofortification Grain minerals Pakistan Phytate Triticum aestivum L.
The research project was financially supported by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan through Indigenous PhD Fellowship Program. We also acknowledge the kind cooperation of Dr. Mukhdoom Hussain, director, and Mr. Mujahid Hussain Qureshi, botanist, at Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad (Pakistan).
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