Plant and Soil

, Volume 430, Issue 1–2, pp 127–138 | Cite as

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 BaenzigerEmail author
Regular Article


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.


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.


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.


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.


Triticum aestivum Iron Zinc Rachis Flag leaf Terminal node 



This project is based on research that was partially supported by the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station with funding from the Hatch Act (Accession Number 0232571) through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This project was also partially supported by Chinese Scholarship Council. We would like to acknowledge Dr. Javier Seravalli and the University of Nebraska Redox Biology Center Proteomics and Metabolomics Core for conducting the ICP-MS assays.

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3712_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)
11104_2018_3712_MOESM2_ESM.csv (81 kb)
ESM 2 (CSV 80 kb)
11104_2018_3712_MOESM3_ESM.docx (26 kb)
ESM 3 (DOCX 26 kb)
11104_2018_3712_Fig4_ESM.png (174 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1

Cd concentration in grain and rachis in Freeman, Overland, Panhandle, and Wesley during grain filling at Ithaca, NE in 2015 and 2016. Each data point in the 2015 panel is an average of 3 observations, and each data point in the 2016 panel is an average of 4 observations. Error bar is the standard error of the mean (PNG 174 kb)

11104_2018_3712_MOESM4_ESM.eps (34 kb)
High resolution image (EPS 34 kb)
11104_2018_3712_Fig5_ESM.png (184 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 2

Concentration of calcium (Ca) and copper (Cu) in grains of Freeman, Overland, Panhandle, and Wesley during grain filling from 2 weeks after average anthesis (WAAA) to grain maturity at Ithaca, NE 2015 and 2016. Each data point in the 2015 panel is an average of 3 observations, and each data point in the 2016 panel is an average of 4 observations. Error bar is the standard error of the mean (PNG 184 kb)

11104_2018_3712_MOESM5_ESM.eps (36 kb)
High resolution image (EPS 35 kb)
11104_2018_3712_Fig6_ESM.png (468 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 3

Content of cadmium (Cd), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), and magnesium (Mg) in grain of Freeman, Overland, Panhandle, and Wesley during grain filling from 2 weeks after average anthesis (WAAA) to grain maturity in fungicide treated and untreated plots at Ithaca, NE 2016. Each data point is an average of observations from two plots. Error bar is the standard error of the mean (PNG 467 kb)

11104_2018_3712_MOESM6_ESM.eps (90 kb)
High resolution image (EPS 89 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caixia Liu
    • 1
  • Mary J. Guttieri
    • 2
  • Brian M. Waters
    • 1
  • Kent M. Eskridge
    • 3
  • Amanda Easterly
    • 1
  • P. Stephen Baenziger
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Agronomy and HorticultureUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.CGAHR-Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research UnitUSDA-ARSManhattanUSA
  3. 3.Department of StatisticsUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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