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Variation in zinc concentration of sweetcorn kernels reflects source–sink dynamics influenced by kernel number

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Cheah, Z. X., O’Hare, T. J., Harper, S. M. and Bell, M. J. (2020) Variation in zinc concentration of sweetcorn kernels reflects source–sink dynamics influenced by kernel number. Journal of Experimental Botany, 71 (16). pp. 4985-4992. ISSN 0022-0957


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/eraa244

Publisher URL: https://academic.oup.com/jxb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jxb/eraa244/5842168


Grain yield and mineral nutrient concentration in cereal crops are usually inversely correlated, undermining biofortification efforts. Sink size, expressed as kernel number per cob, was manipulated by controlling the time when the silks of sweetcorn (Zea mays) cv. Hybrix 5 and var. HiZeax 103146 were exposed to pollen. Twelve other varieties were manually pollinated to achieve maximum potential kernel number per cob, and kernel Zn concentration was correlated with kernel number and kernel mass. As kernel number increased, kernel Zn concentration decreased, with that decrease occurring to similar extents in both the embryo tissue and rest of the kernel. However, total kernel Zn accumulated per cob increased with increasing kernel number, as the small decreases in individual kernel Zn concentration were more than offset by increases in kernel number. When both kernel number and mass were considered, 90% of the variation in kernel Zn concentration was accounted for. Differential responses in assimilate and Zn distribution to sweetcorn cobs led to significant decreases in kernel Zn concentration with increasing kernel number. This suggests there will be challenges to achieving high kernel Zn concentrations in modern high-yielding sweetcorn varieties unless genotypes with higher Zn translocation rates into kernels can be identified.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords:Biofortification, grain, kernel mass, kernel number, maize, source-sink dynamics, sweetcorn, yield, Zea mays, zinc
Subjects:Science > Botany > Genetics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Plant culture > Food crops
Plant culture > Field crops > Corn. Maize
Live Archive:28 May 2020 04:18
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 03:37

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