Sustainable Approaches to Increase the Yield and Nutritional Quality of Wheat




Global food security and the demand for high-yield grain crops with high nutritional value are the most urgent drivers of modern plant sciences due to the current trend of population growth, global climate change, and decreasing arable land resources. In this regard, micronutrients iron, copper and zinc are required for crop growth, fertility and grain yield. These micronutrients are also essential components of the human diet. The bread wheat is a globally important crop and is a major source of calories and revenue in Ukraine. However, wheat has inherently low concentration of micronutrients in grains, is regarded as the most sensitive crop to low copper bioavailability in soils, and similar to other crops, is sensitive to low bioavailability of iron and zinc. The essential nature of these micronutrients in wheat development, fertility, grain yield and mineral density, however, has been overlooked in wheat breeding programs. Current biofortification strategies aiming to increase grain mineral content have proven not to be very efficient as well. This Ukraine-U.S. collaborative project uses wheat genotypes from the State Register of Plant Varieties Suitable for Dissemination in Ukraine to develop tools for the innovative breeding strategy that is expected to boost simultaneously the yield and mineral content of grains. The use of physiological, molecular genetics and functional genomics approaches, soils tests and the state-of-the-art synchrotron x-ray technologies in this collaborative project will provide an unprecedented systems overview of wheat responses to mineral availability. Findings from this research will contribute to molecular breeding efforts for wheat with improved growth and yield/spike characteristics in marginal soils and soils now in cultivation. Finally, this application will provide the framework for the long-term sustainable joint collaboration between the U.S. and Ukrainian teams and will promote the advancement of women in life sciences.

Submitted by: 

  • Vatamaniuk, Olena K

Researchers involved: 

  • Vatamaniuk, Olena K
  • Sorrells, Mark E
  • McBride, Murray B