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Increasing grain selenium concentration via genetic and agronomic innovations

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Leo RempelosORCiD, Professor Carlo Leifert, Dr Paul BilsborrowORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s). Aims: To evaluate the potential to enhance grain Selenium (Se) concentration in wheat through agronomic innovation practices and exploitation of existing genetic variation. Methods: Grain samples from field experiments carried out as part of the EU projects Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE-CROPS), Healthy Minor Cereals (HMC) and Quality Low Input Food (QLIF) were analysed to identify the effects of wheat species/variety, fertiliser type and crop protection regime on grain yield, grain protein and selenium concentrations. Results: Fertiliser type significantly affected grain Se concentration. In the NUE-CROPS and QLIF trials the use of farm-yard manure (FYM) resulted in significantly higher grain Se concentration when compared with mineral fertiliser applied at the same N input level. Similarly, in the HMC trial, FYM and cattle slurry resulted in a significantly higher grain Se concentration compared with biogas digestate and mineral fertiliser. In the QLIF trials, organic crop protection resulted in significantly higher grain Se concentration when compared with conventional crop protection. The NUE-CROPS and HMC trials detected significant differences between varieties of both common wheat (Triticum aestivum) and spelt (T. spelta). Correlation analyses across the trials identified a negative correlation between yield and grain Se concentration for spelt and positive correlation between plant height and Se concentration for both species. Conclusions: Higher Se concentrations in the taller spelt varieties suggest that there is considerable potential to breed/select for high grain Se by exploiting traits/genetic variation present in older, traditional wheat species (e.g. spelt).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Daud MFB, Rempelos L, Cakmak I, Leifert C, Bilsborrow P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Plant and Soil

Year: 2023

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 21/09/2023

Acceptance date: 12/09/2023

Date deposited: 05/10/2023

ISSN (print): 0032-079X

ISSN (electronic): 1573-5036

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s11104-023-06293-z


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Funder referenceFunder name
613609European Commission
EU FP6 program
Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia