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  • Integrated nutrient supply and varietal difference influence grain yield and yield related physio-morphological traits of durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L.) varieties under drought condition

    The ever-growing world population entails an improvement in durum wheat grain yield to ensure an adequate food supply, which often gets impaired by several biotic and abiotic factors. Integrated nutrient management, such as nitrogen rate × foliar zinc × sulphur fertilization combined with durum wheat varieties were investigated in order to examine the dynamics of yield and yield related physio-morphological traits under drought conditions. The four durum wheat varieties, three-level of nutrient supply (i.e. control, sulphur, and zinc), and two nitrogen regimes (i.e. zero and 60 kg ha−1) were arranged in split-split plot design with three replications. Zinc and sulphur were applied as foliar fertilisation during the flag leaf stage, both at a rate of 3 and 4 liters ha-1, respectively. Results showed existence of genetic variability for grain yield, plant height, NDVI, SPAD and spike density. Foliar based application of zinc and sulphur at the latter stage improved the plant height. Nitrogen fertilized varieties with lower spike numbers showed to better yield formation. Co-fertilization of nitrogen and zinc improved grain yield of responsive varieties like Duragold by about 21.3%. Spikes per m2 were statistically insignificant for grain yield improvement. It could be inferred that the observed positive effect of sulphur, nitrogen and zinc application on physio-morphology and yield formation substantiates the need to include these essential nutrients in the cultivation system of durum wheat.

  • Harnessing diversity in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L.) to enhance climate resilience and micronutrient concentration through genetic and agronomic biofortification

    Huge consumption of wheat-driven food products with low bioavailability and small concentrations of zinc is responsible for zinc-induced malnutrition and associated health complications. The contemporary durum wheat varieties have inherently tiny zinc concentrations in developing grain, which cannot meet the daily human zinc demand. Despite the fact that over two billion people are suffering from iron and zinc-induced malnutrition, various intervention measures have been deployed to reverse the effect of zinc-induced malnutrition on humans. There are evidences that agronomic and genetic biofortification approaches can increase grain yield and nutritional quality (i.e. zinc, iron, protein, and vitamins) of durum wheat to a greater extent. However, there is a lack of direct empirical evidence for which the influence of both biofortification approaches on improving human health. Application of micronutrient-containing fertilizers either in the soil or foliarly is effective in combination with NPK, organic fertilizers coupled with efficient durum wheat varieties, emphasizing the need for integrated soil fertility management (ISFM). Although genetic biofortification is a cost-effective and sustainable approach, agronomic biofortification provides an immediate and effective route to enhancing micronutrient concentrations in durum wheat grain. The application of zinc-containing fertilizers is more effective under drought conditions than in normal growing situations. Hence, this article provides a key information for agronomists and breeders about the potential of biofortification interventions to improve durum wheat yield and enrich the grain qualitative traits to ensure food and nutritional security of the ever-increasing world population.