Plant and Soil

, Volume 361, Issue 1–2, pp 251–260 | Cite as

Energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence analysis of zinc and iron concentration in rice and pearl millet grain

  • Nicholas G. PaltridgeEmail author
  • Lachlan J. Palmer
  • Paul J. Milham
  • Georgia E. Guild
  • James C. R. Stangoulis
Regular Article


Background and aims

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) biofortification breeding programs require accurate and convenient methods to identify nutrient dense genotypes. The aim of this study was to investigate energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF) for the measurement of zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) concentration in whole grain rice and pearl millet.


Grain samples were obtained from existing biofortification breeding programs. Reference Zn and Fe concentrations obtained by inductively-coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) were used to calibrate the EDXRF instrument. Calibration was performed with 24 samples and separate calibrations were developed for rice and pearl millet. To validate calibrations, EDXRF analyses were conducted on an additional 40 samples of each species.


EDXRF results were highly correlated with ICP-OES values for both Zn and Fe in both species (r2 = 0.79 to 0.98). EDXRF predicted Zn and Fe in rice to within 1.9 and 1.6 mg kg−1 of ICP-OES values, and Zn and Fe in pearl millet to within 7.6 and 12.5 mg kg−1 of ICP-OES values, at a 95% confidence level.


EDXRF offers a convenient, economical tool for screening Zn and Fe concentration in rice and pearl millet biofortification breeding programs.


XRF EDXRF Biofortification Micronutrient Plant 



Funding for this work was provided by HarvestPlus. We thank Oxford Instruments and Neal Robson for help identifying optimal Zn and Fe EDXRF conditions, Parminder Virk and Alamgir Hossain for supplying rice samples, Kedar Rai for supplying pearl millet samples, Waite Analytical Services for ICP-OES analysis, Zarina Yasmin for technical assistance, and Robin Graham and Wendy Telfer for helpful suggestions on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas G. Paltridge
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lachlan J. Palmer
    • 1
  • Paul J. Milham
    • 2
  • Georgia E. Guild
    • 1
  • James C. R. Stangoulis
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.NSW Department of Primary IndustriesRichmondAustralia

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