a1 Yanco Agricultural Institute, Yanco, NSW 2703, Australia
a2 Biology Department, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1, Canada
A study was conducted to assess the effect of the supply of phosphorus and the major cations on the mineral nutrient composition of whole mature wheat grains and the electron-dense globoid crystals found in the aleurone cells. Ears of wheat plants, growing in the field, were detached after anthesis. The ears were cultured to maturity in a sterile control solution which contained all essential elements. Other ears were cultured in solutions which contained no phoshorus, no calcium, no magnesium, combinations of these (−P, −Ca; −P, −Mg) or a solution which contained additional potassium but no phosphorus, calcium or magnesium. Ears cultured in the control solution produced grains with higher concentrations of P, Mg, K and Ca than grains from ears which matured on plants in the field. All the −P treatments produced grains with lower concentrations of P and higher concentrations of Mg, K and Ca than the plants grown in the field. The appearance and elemental composition of the globoid crystals in the aleurone cells support the hypotheses that the size of globoid crystals is regulated, in part, by the amount of phosphorus deposited in the grain and also by the relative proportions of K, Mg and Ca in the tissue. The culture of individual ears of cereal plants is a useful technique by which to study the transfer to and deposition of mineral nutrients in cereal grains.
(Received March 09 1994)
(Accepted August 01 1994)