Comparison of the Cu, Zn, Fe, Ca and Mg contents of the grains of wild, ancient and cultivated wheat species

A. F. Bálint, G. Kovács, L. Erdei, J. Sutka

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Cereals - especially common wheat - are the most important staple food; however, their grains often contain very low amounts of available iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and manganese (Mn). The aim of the present research was to study the existing variability in the seed inorganic nutrient composition of various Triticum L. and Aegilops L. species, and to investigate the hypothesized correlation between the ploidy level and the seed mineral nutrient concentrations. The results showed that generally higher copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) contents were observed in the caryopsis of Aegilops L. species, while higher iron (Fe) concentration was found in the grains of Triticum L. accessions. The results do not confirm the hypothesis that the grains of the ancient wheat species - einkorn, emmer and spelt - generally have higher mineral nutrient contents than the recently cultivated varieties, except for iron (Fe), which is contained in a higher amount in the seeds of diploid wheat species. No correlation was found between the ploidy level and genome types (A, AB, AG, ABD, S, D, UM, DMS) and the mineral nutrient content of the grains. Similar results were found using hierarchical cluster analysis. As the 1000-kernel weight of wild species is generally smaller than that of cultivated species, the correlation between seed weight and mineral nutrient concentrations was also studied. The results showed that the increase in seed weights correlated significantly with the decrease in Ca and Mg concentrations. The results showed that to improve the human nutritional quality of wheat varieties, the best sources of higher Cu, Zn, Ca and Mg content could be found in the Aegilops L. genus, while genotypes with higher Fe content could be found in the Triticum L. genus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-382
Number of pages8
JournalCereal Research Communications
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2001



  • 1000-kernel weight
  • Aegilops
  • Human nutrition
  • Mineral elements
  • Triticum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics

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