Durum wheat is symbiotic with soil
A study on the properties of ancient durum wheat in comparison with modern seeds was conducted by the University of Pisa and CNR under coordination of Manuela Giovannetti, together with CREA geneticists.
The study results, published in Scientific Reports, conclude that both varieties have the same ability to become symbiotic with soil microorganisms and extract great amounts of mineral nutrients (first of all, phosphorus and nitrogen) which are crucial for their growth.
The study was conducted on 108 different varieties. Data confirms that although durum wheat varieties have experienced many selections, no negative effects were detected in their ability to become symbiotic with the microorganisms through which plants get nutrients from soil. Rht genes, responsible for the reduction in size and associated with the increase in crops of modern wheat, do not interfere with symbiosis development.
“We showed that there are no differences in ancient and modern varieties of durum wheat in terms of their ability to become symbiotic with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi”, said Cristiana Sbrana from CNR and Luciano Avio from UNIPI.
“The mapping of genetic traits associated with mycorrhizal symbiosis”, concluded Manuela Giovannetti “will allow to select plants that are highly susceptible to symbiosis, to be used in sustainable agriculture, as well as to improve the understanding of the relationships between phenotypical and genetic traits in this important food plant”.