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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soil Fertility & Crop Nutrition

Relationships between Nitrogen Utilization and Grain Technological Quality in Durum Wheat: I. Nitrogen Translocation and Nitrogen Use Efficiency for Protein


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 103 No. 5, p. 1487-1494
    Received: May 18, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): m.giuliani@unifg.it
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  1. M. M. Giuliani *a,
  2. L. Giuzioa,
  3. A. De Caroa and
  4. Z. Flagellaa
  1. a Dipartimento di Scienze Agroambientali, Chimica e Difesa Vegetale-Facoltà di Agraria–Università degli Studi di Foggia–via Napoli, 25-71100 Foggia


Durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) is widely cultivated in the Mediterranean area where plants generally suffer from water stress during grain-filling period. This study was conducted to evaluate the influence of N levels and water regimes on N translocation and nitrogen use efficiency for protein (NUEP) in durum wheat grown under Mediterranean conditions. A 2-yr experiment was performed in southern Italy using four cultivars, two water regimes (irrigated and rainfed) and three N levels (0, 60, and 120 kg ha−1). Among the cultivars under study, Simeto showed the highest N translocation in both years and, together with Ofanto, also the highest NUEP values, especially in rainfed condition. This highlights their good adaptability to dry southern Italy environment. Nitrogen fertilization caused a general decrease of NUEP and its components in both growing seasons; this was more evident in the first drier year, mainly due to a decrease in N uptake. Under water stress the higher N level caused a decrease in N translocation, N translocation efficiency, and grain N content. The contribution of translocated N to grain N content was 75% in the wetter year and 57% in the drier year, showing that in drought condition preanthesis N assimilation was lower. In conclusion under water stress condition the higher N level (120 kg ha−1), despite determining an increase in plant N content, did not imply an increase in grain N content, due to a decrease in N translocation and efficiency.

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