Accessing Spelt Gene Pool to Develop Well-Adapted Zinc- and Iron-Rich Bread Wheat
Srinivasa, J.; Arun, B.; Mishra, V.K.; Chand, R.; Sharma, D.; Bhardwaj, S.C.; Joshi, A.K.
Breeding for higher Zn and Fe content in the wheat grain can be justified in the context of malnutrition. This breeding study set out to gauge the potential of crosses between spelt (Triticum aestivum ssp. spelta) and bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L. em. Thell) for enhancing the Zn and Fe content of wheat cultivars adapted to the northeastern plains zone (NEPZ) of India. BC1F8 populations were developed from two spelt × bread wheat combinations: H+ 35 × HUW 468 and H+ 15 × HUW 234. Their performance was evaluated at three locations in NEPZ. Around four genes were found to control inheritance of grain Zn concentration. Grain Zn and Fe concentration varied among the lines, as did other yield-related traits. Significant positive correlations were recorded between the grain content of Zn, Fe, and protein, but also negative correlations between them and the important agronomic characteristics plant height, grain yield, and thousand grain weight (TGW). Some of the derived lines showed increased mineral concentration without any decrease in grain size. The best ten selections in each population were all significantly superior to their respective bread wheat parent with respect to grain Zn and Fe content as well as some of the agronomic traits, which included resistance to spot blotch, stem rust, and leaf rust.