Zinc nutrition in wheat-based cropping systems

Abdul Rehman, Muhammad Farooq*, Levent Ozturk, Muhammad Asif, Kadambot H.M. Siddique

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Zinc (Zn) deficiency is one of the most important micronutrient disorders affecting human health. Wheat is the staple food for 35% of the world’s population and is inherently low in Zn, which increases the incidence of Zn deficiency in humans. Major wheat-based cropping systems viz. rice–wheat, cotton–wheat and maize–wheat are prone to Zn deficiency due to the high Zn demand of these crops. Methods: This review highlights the role of Zn in plant biology and its effect on wheat-based cropping systems. Agronomic, breeding and molecular approaches to improve Zn nutrition and biofortification of wheat grain are discussed. Results: Zinc is most often applied to crops through soil and foliar methods. The application of Zn through seed treatments has improved grain yield and grain Zn status in wheat. In cropping systems where legumes are cultivated in rotation with wheat, microorganisms can improve the available Zn pool in soil for the wheat crop. Breeding and molecular approaches have been used to develop wheat genotypes with high grain Zn density. Conclusions: Options for improving grain yield and grain Zn concentration in wheat include screening wheat genotypes for higher root Zn uptake and grain translocation efficiency, the inclusion of these Zn-efficient genotypes in breeding programs, and Zn fertilization through soil, foliar and seed treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-315
Number of pages33
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Biofortification
  • Cropping systems
  • Fertilization
  • Rhizobacteria
  • Wheat
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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