Cadmium concentration in terminal tissues as tools to select low-cadmium wheat

Caixia Liu, Mary J. Guttieri, Brian M. Waters, Kent M. Eskridge, Amanda Easterly, P. Stephen Baenziger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and aim: The consumption of cadmium-contaminated food adversely affects human health. Heritable variation for the propensity to accumulate cadmium in the grain exists, but is a difficult selection target, given the practical limitations of breeding operations. The main objective of this study is to assess the feasibility and accuracy of selecting low-cadmium lines during grain filling using cadmium concentration in terminal tissues. Methods: Cadmium and other mineral concentrations in terminal tissues of two low- and high-cadmium winter wheat cultivars (Triticum aestivum L.) were measured at 2, 3, 4, and 5 weeks after average anthesis (WAAA) and at maturity in two years. Results: Cadmium concentration in grain at 3 and 4 WAAA, in rachis at 2, 4 and 5 WAAA, and in the terminal vegetative node at 3 and 4 WAAA separated high- and low-cadmium cultivars. Controlling disease with fungicides did not affect the ability to select low-cadmium cultivars. Across environments, low-cadmium cultivars had lower concentration of cadmium, but similar concentration of iron and zinc in developing and mature grains, compared to the high-cadmium cultivars. Conclusions: Low-cadmium lines can be selected before harvest using Cd concentration in terminal tissues. It is possible to select low-cadmium lines that are consistently low across environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Flag leaf
  • Iron
  • Rachis
  • Terminal node
  • Triticum aestivum
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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