Special Issue "Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pasquale De Vita
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Cereal and Industrial Crops (CREA-CI), SS 673 km 25+200, 71122 Foggia, Italy
Interests: durum wheat breeding and genetics; yield and grain quality; mapping QTL; marker-assisted selection; wheat biofortification
Dr. Francesca Taranto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Cereal and Industrial Crops (CREA-CI), SS 673 km 25+200, 71122 Foggia, Italy
Interests: molecular biology and genetics; genomics; genotype-by-sequencing (GBS); Mapping QTL; genome-wide association study (GWAS)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Durum wheat is the raw material of the pasta production industry and, although less widespread than bread wheat, it has become a very important cereal product on the world market together with the increase in the demand for pasta. Considering the main distribution area of durum wheat in the Mediterranean area, which is characterized by rainy winters and dry summers, the genetic improvement of stress-related traits was usually approached by breeding directly for yield in potential environments subject to low abiotic stress. According to the main climate scenarios, the expected growth of the average annual temperature in the Mediterranean region will be slightly higher than that of the world level. Under these conditions, the production of durum wheat is threatened by the impacts of climate change, and there is a need for more sustainable development.

In this Special Issue we welcome research papers and reviews (a reduced number) dealing with topics related to the genetic improvement of durum wheat with particular reference to the key traits to increase productivity and grain quality despite increasing water scarcity, higher temperatures, and the emergence of new pests and diseases. The integration of -omics technologies is promising to revolutionize plant breeding, providing an exceptional opportunity to identify genetic variations that can be employed in durum wheat breeding programs. For these reasons, contributions highlighting the usefulness of new genotyping, phenotyping and modelling techniques to improve the understanding and prediction of complex traits (e.g. yield, protein content, interaction with weeds and soil micro-organisms, etc.), are welcome.

Dr. Pasquale De Vita
Dr. Francesca Taranto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Durum wheat
  • Yield potential and grain quality
  • Water and nitrogen use efficiency
  • Marker-assisted breeding
  • High-throughput phenotyping
  • Genomic selection

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Genetic Advance of Durum Wheat Under High Yielding Conditions: The Case of Chile
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080454 - 15 Aug 2019
Abstract
In Chile, durum wheat is cultivated in high-yielding Mediterranean environments, therefore breeding programs have selected cultivars with high yield potential in addition to grain quality. The genetic progress in grain yield (GY) between 1964 and 2010 was 72.8 kg ha−1 per year. [...] Read more.
In Chile, durum wheat is cultivated in high-yielding Mediterranean environments, therefore breeding programs have selected cultivars with high yield potential in addition to grain quality. The genetic progress in grain yield (GY) between 1964 and 2010 was 72.8 kg ha−1 per year. GY showed a positive and significant correlation with days to heading, kernels per unit ground area and thousand kernel weight. The gluten and protein content tended to decrease with the year of cultivar release. The correlation between the δ13C of kernels and GY was negative and significant (−0.62, p < 0.05, for all cultivars; and −0.97, p < 0.001, excluding the two oldest cultivars). The yield progress (genetic plus agronomic improvements) of a set of 40–46 advanced lines evaluated between 2006 and 2015 was 569 kg ha−1 per year. Unlike other Mediterranean agro-environments, a longer growing cycle together with taller plants seems to be related to the increase in the GY of Chilean durum wheat during recent decades. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Screening of Diverse Ethiopian Durum Wheat Accessions for Aluminum Tolerance
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080440 - 09 Aug 2019
Abstract
Acid soils and associated Al3+ toxicity are prevalent in Ethiopia where normally Al3+-sensitive durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp durum Desf.) is an important crop. To identify a source of Al3+ tolerance, we screened diverse Ethiopian durum germplasm. As [...] Read more.
Acid soils and associated Al3+ toxicity are prevalent in Ethiopia where normally Al3+-sensitive durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp durum Desf.) is an important crop. To identify a source of Al3+ tolerance, we screened diverse Ethiopian durum germplasm. As a center of diversity for durum wheat coupled with the strong selection pressure imposed by extensive acid soils, it was conceivable that Al3+ tolerance had evolved in Ethiopian germplasm. We used a rapid method on seedlings to rate Al3+ tolerance according to the length of seminal roots. From 595 accessions screened using the rapid method, we identified 21 tolerant, 180 intermediate, and 394 sensitive accessions. When assessed in the field the accessions had tolerance rankings consistent with the rapid screen. However, a molecular marker specific for the D-genome showed that all accessions rated as Al3+-tolerant or of intermediate tolerance were hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) that had contaminated the durum grain stocks. The absence of Al3+ tolerance in durum has implications for how Al3+ tolerance evolved in bread wheat. There remains a need for a source of Al3+-tolerance genes for durum wheat and previous work that introgressed genes from bread wheat into durum wheat is discussed as a potential source for enhancing the Al3+ tolerance of durum germplasm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Loci Controlling Adaptation to Heat Stress Occurring at the Reproductive Stage in Durum Wheat
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080414 - 30 Jul 2019
Abstract
Heat stress occurring during the reproductive stage of wheat has a detrimental effect on productivity. A durum wheat core set was exposed to simulated terminal heat stress by applying plastic tunnels at the time of flowering over two seasons. Mean grain yield was [...] Read more.
Heat stress occurring during the reproductive stage of wheat has a detrimental effect on productivity. A durum wheat core set was exposed to simulated terminal heat stress by applying plastic tunnels at the time of flowering over two seasons. Mean grain yield was reduced by 54% compared to control conditions, and grain number was the most critical trait for tolerance to this stress. The combined use of tolerance indices and grain yield identified five top performing elite lines: Kunmiki, Berghouata1, Margherita2, IDON37-141, and Ourgh. The core set was also subjected to genome wide association study using 7652 polymorphic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) markers. The most significant genomic regions were identified in association with spike fertility and tolerance indices on chromosomes 1A, 5B, and 6B. Haplotype analysis on a set of 208 elite lines confirmed that lines that carried the positive allele at all three quantitative trait loci (QTLs) had a yield advantage of 8% when field tested under daily temperatures above 31° C. Three of the QTLs were successfully validated into Kompetitive Allele Specific PCR (KASP) markers and explained >10% of the phenotypic variation for an independent elite germplasm set. These genomic regions can now be readily deployed via breeding to improve resilience to climate change and increase productivity in heat-stressed areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Durum Wheat (Triticum durum Desf.): Origin, Cultivation and Potential Expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa
Agronomy 2019, 9(5), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050263 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Durum wheat is an important food crop in the world and an endemic species of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In the highlands of Ethiopia and the oases of the Sahara this crop has been cultivated for thousands of years. Today, smallholder farmers still grow [...] Read more.
Durum wheat is an important food crop in the world and an endemic species of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In the highlands of Ethiopia and the oases of the Sahara this crop has been cultivated for thousands of years. Today, smallholder farmers still grow it on marginal lands to assure production for their own consumption. However, durum wheat is no longer just a staple crop for food security but has become a major cash crop. In fact, the pasta, burghul and couscous industry currently purchase durum grain at prices 10 to 20% higher than that of bread wheat. Africa as a whole imports over €4 billion per year of durum grain to provide the raw material for its food industry. Hence, African farmers could obtain a substantial share of this large market by turning their production to this crop. Here, the achievements of the durum breeding program of Ethiopia are revised to reveal a steep acceleration in variety release and adoption over the last decade. Furthermore, the variety release for Mauritania and Senegal is described to show how modern breeding methods could be used to deliver grain yields above 3 t ha−1 in seasons of just 92 days of length and in daytime temperatures always above 32 °C. This review describes the potential of releasing durum wheat varieties adapted to all growing conditions of SSA, from the oases of the Sahara to the highlands of Ethiopia. This indicates that the new breeding technologies offer great promise for expanding the area of durum wheat production in SSA but that this achievement remains primarily dependent on the market ability to purchase these grains at a higher price to stimulate farmer adoption. The critical importance of connecting all actors along the semolina value chain is presented in the example of Oromia, Ethiopia and that success story is then used to prompt a wider discussion on the potential of durum wheat as a crop for poverty reduction in Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Effect of Culture Medium and Mannitol Pre-treatment on Durum Wheat Anther Culture Response

Th. B. Lazaridou1, A. G. Mavromatis2 and I. N. Xynias1

1 School of Agricultural Technol. & Food Technol. and Nutrition, Western Macedonia University of Applied Sciences, Terma Kontopoulou, 53 100 Florina, Greece

2 Laboratory of Genetics and Plant Breeding, School of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract: This study was conducted to determine the effect of culture medium, low temperature and pre-mannitol treatment on androgenic response in durum wheat. For this four cultivars were studied. Three mannitol pre-treatments were applied. The W14 with and without ethephon addition and the FHG were used as induction media. The 190-2 and basic MS were used as regeneration and rooting media respectively. Mannitol influenced negatively or had no effect on both embryoid and green plant production in three cultivars. Green plants were produced only from two cultivars. It was concluded that androgenic response of durum wheat is influenced by both genotype and culture medium.
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