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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Impact of Combined Drought and Heat Stress and Nitrogen on Winter Wheat Productivity and End-Use Quality

Statkeviciute, Grazina; Liatukas, Zilvinas; Ceseviciene, Jurgita; Jaskune, Kristina; Armoniene, Rita; Kuktaite, Ramune; Brazauskas, Gintaras


Water deficit and heat stress are the main abiotic stresses affecting the yield and quality of winter wheat. The increasing frequency of the simultaneous occurrence of these two stresses might threaten global food security and drives the need to breed resilient high-quality cultivars. The aim of this study was to evaluate the grain yield, quality and gluten protein characteristics in 50 winter wheat cultivars and breeding lines during the harvest years of 2018 and 2019. The yield and grain quality components were affected more severely by the combined heat and drought in 2019 than the drought in 2018. Two nitrogen (N) fertilization regimes were studied, sustainable (S, 15/100/30 kg N ha(-1)) and high-input (HI, 15/100/100 kg N ha(-1)). The yield was higher in HI trials compared to S trials by 2.2 t ha(-1) in 2018 and by 2.4 t ha(-1) in 2019. Higher protein content and sedimentation volume and lower yield, test weight and starch content were observed under combined heat and drought stress in 2019 compared to 2018. Genotypes containing the Glu-D1 x5-y10 allele exhibited the higher amounts of unextractable polymeric proteins (%UPP = 58.5%) in gluten studied by size exclusion liquid chromatography (SE-HPLC) as compared to Glu-D1 x2-y12 allele (%UPP = 54.3%). Genotype was the main determinant of gluten protein characteristics regardless of the nitrogen application and the abiotic stress conditions. The results suggest that the relatively mild drought and heat events in Lithuania might not threaten gluten quality in the future; however, breeding efforts should be directed towards improved drought and heat stress resistance to ensure stable wheat productivity in the region.


drought stress; gluten protein composition; heat stress; polymeric protein

Published in

2022, Volume: 12, number: 6, article number: 1452
Publisher: MDPI

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
      SDG13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Agricultural Science

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