As a consequence of the recent spread of organic crop production, there is an increasing demand on the market for foodstuffs and food raw materials of special quality. New interest is being evinced in old cereal species that have been ignored for a long period, such as einkorn and emmer. Their production is hindered, however, by the fact that no breeding has been carried out on these species for long decades, and the landraces currently available are not suited to modern cultivation conditions. The breeding of varieties with the required habit is hindered by the lack of information on the plant structure of the various landraces and on the environmental dependence and inheritance of the characters that determine plant structure. Earlier studies suggest that inhomogeneous environmental systems can be used to identify the temperature and light conditions under which the phenotypic differences responsible for plant structure are the greatest, thus allowing the inheritance of these traits to be investigated. When two emmer landraces originating from diverse climatic regions (MvGB 301 and MvGB 304) were grown in a gradient phytotron chamber, it was found that relatively higher temperatures were more suitable for pinpointing differences in plant height, as the difference between the two varieties decreased parallel to a drop in temperature. Within the temperature range investigated it is advisable to choose the taller variety as basic breeding stock for organic variety development, as its height is closer to the ideotype for organic varieties. The length of the last internode in MvGB 301 is independent of changes in temperature, indicating that the phenotype is stable for this trait. The results clearly demonstrate that it is possible to find types of emmer which are morphologically adapted to the requirements of organic farming and have a plant structure relatively little affected by the genotype × environment interaction.
- Gradient plant growth chamber
- Organic production
- Plant height
- Triticum dicoccum ssp. dicoccon schrank
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science