Plant and Soil

, Volume 336, Issue 1–2, pp 15–24 | Cite as

The use of a zinc-efficient wheat cultivar as an adaptation to calcareous subsoil: a glasshouse study

  • Robert E. Holloway
  • Robin D. Graham
  • Therese M. McBeathEmail author
  • Dot M. Brace
Regular Article


Zinc (Zn) is an essential nutrient for plants with a major role in healthy root growth. Zinc is essential for maintaining root membrane integrity, but the effective Zn concentration required may depend on the crop genotype. Zinc-efficient and inefficient wheat cultivars (Triticuum aestivum cv. Excalibur and Gatcher, respectively) were grown in deep soil cores in calcareous subsoil with low micronutrient levels, and high pH and boron. Plants were grown in soil with or without basal nutrients (excluding Zn) and with or without addition of Zn. Components of yield and nutrient use efficiency were measured. Although Gatcher produced 47% more dry weight of tops and double the root length density of Excalibur at maturity, Excalibur was much more efficient in terms of Zn uptake by roots and seven-fold more efficient than Gatcher in partitioning Zn to grain production.


Root length Infertile Soil Zinc uptake Zinc partitioning 



added Zn


no added Zn


added basal nutrients (no Zn)


no added basal nutrients




diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid


electrical conductivity


inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy


total root surface area


least significant difference


triple deionized


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Holloway
    • 1
    • 3
  • Robin D. Graham
    • 2
  • Therese M. McBeath
    • 2
    Email author
  • Dot M. Brace
    • 1
  1. 1.South Australian Research and Development InstituteMinnipa Agricultural CentreMinnipaAustralia
  2. 2.School of Agriculture, Food and WineUniversity of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia
  3. 3.Mintaro SouthAustralia

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