Interrelationships between grain nitrogen content and other indicators of nitrogen accumulation and utilization efficiency in wheat plant.

Olivera Nikolic1*, Tomislav Zivanovic2, Miodrag Jelic3, Ivica Djalovic4

The topic of N wheat nutrition was prevalent during the last decades of the 20th century for many reasons such as energy crises, profitability of small grain production, and ecosystem protection and preservation. The objective of this study was to determine the interrelationships between wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grain N content and other indicators of N nutrition efficiency to better understand the N nutrition process in wheat plants. The experiment included 30 wheat cultivars and experimental lines from Serbia. Plant samples of each genotype were taken at anthesis and maturity. The following parameters related to N accumulation and translocation within the wheat plant were calculated: N content (at anthesis, grain, straw, and total at maturity), N harvest index (NHI), N reutilization (N reU), and N lost (-) or gained (N post-anthesis). Our results showed that N content in the aboveground part of the plant expressed very strong direct positive effects on N yield (phenotypic coefficient 3.78** to 9.34** and genotypic coefficient 1.43** to 2.32**), while its indirect effects varied. The influence of independent variables on grain N content has been changing from year to year in a negative way. Total N accumulation (N total) had the highest negative direct effect in the first year of the study (phenotypic coefficient -2.11**), N total in the second (phenotypic coefficient -2.78**), and N reutilization in the third (phenotypic coefficient -8.49**). Genotypic coefficients indicate that the most frequent strong direct negative effect was N reutilization (-0.47** and -0.99** in the first 2 yr of research, respectively). Nitrogen reutilization and its current assimilation are very important and related to grain N supply processes. Their interaction leads to the conclusion that forming N yield is a very complex mechanism and, as a result, grain yield and quality. The abovementioned parameters could be considered as important criteria in wheat breeding to improve production efficiency and reduce adverse impacts of N fertilizers on the ecosystem.

Keywords: Interactions, nitrogen nutrition, path coefficients, Triticum aestivum.
1EDUCONS University, Faculty of Ecological Agriculture, 35210 Svilajnac, Svetog Save 60, Serbia *Corresponding author (nikolicolivera69@yahoo.com).
2Belgrade University, Faculty of Agriculture Zemun, Nemanjina 6, 11080 Belgrade, Serbia.
3Prishtina University, Faculty of Agriculture Lesak, Kopaonicka bb, 38219 Leshak, Serbia.
4Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, Novi Sad, Maksima Gorkog 30, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia.