Plant and Soil

, Volume 342, Issue 1–2, pp 149–164 | Cite as

Effect of nitrogen on uptake, remobilization and partitioning of zinc and iron throughout the development of durum wheat

Regular Article


Deficiencies of zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) are global nutritional problems and caused most often by their limited dietary intake. Increasing Zn and Fe concentrations of staple food crops such as wheat is therefore an important global challenge. This study investigated the effects of varied nitrogen (N) and Zn supply on the total uptake, remobilization and partitioning of Zn, Fe and N in durum wheat throughout its ontogenesis. Plants were grown under greenhouse conditions with high or low supply of N and Zn, and harvested at 8 different developmental stages for analysis of Zn, Fe and N in leaves, stems, husks and grains. The results obtained showed that the Zn and Fe uptake per plant was enhanced up to 4-fold by high N supply while the increases in plant growth by high N supply were much less. When both the Zn and N supplies were high, approximately 50% of grain Zn and 80% of grain Fe were provided by post-anthesis shoot uptake, indicating that the contribution of remobilization to grain accumulation was higher for Zn than for Fe. At the high N and Zn application, about 60% of Zn, but only 40% of Fe initially stored in vegetative parts were retranslocated to grains, and nearly 80% of total shoot Zn and 60% of total shoot Fe were harvested with grains. All these values were significantly lower at the low N treatment. Results indicate that N nutrition is a critical factor in both the acquisition and grain allocation of Zn and Fe in wheat.


Grain quality Iron Micronutrient deficiencies Nitrogen Wheat Zinc 



This study was financially supported by the HarvestPlus Biofortification Challenge Program ( and the State Planning Organization of the Turkish Republic (

Supplementary material

11104_2010_679_MOESM1_ESM.doc (98 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 98 kb)
11104_2010_679_MOESM2_ESM.doc (846 kb)
ESM 2 (DOC 846 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Umit Baris Kutman
    • 1
  • Bahar Yildiz
    • 1
  • Ismail Cakmak
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering and Natural SciencesSabanci UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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