Effect of zinc (Zn) nutritional status on uptake of inorganic 65Zn was studied in rye (Secale cereale, cv. Aslim), three bread wheat (Triticum aestivum, cvs. Dagdas, Bezostaja, BDME-10) and durum wheat (Triticum durum, cv. Kunduru-1149) cultivars grown for 13 days in nutrient solution under controlled environmental conditions. The cultivars were selected based on their response to Zn deficiency and to Zn fertilization in calcareous soils under field conditions. When grown in Zn-deficient calcareous soil in the field, the rye cultivar had the highest, and the durum wheat the lowest Zn efficiency. Among the bread wheats, BDME-10 showed higher susceptibility to Zn deficiency and Bezostaja and Dagdas were less affected by Zn deficiency. Similarly to field conditions, in nutrient solution visual Zn deficiency symptoms (i.e. necrotic lesions on leaf blade) appeared to be more severe in Kunduru-1149 and BDME-10 and less severe in rye cultivar Aslim. Under Zn deficiency, shoot concentrations of Zn were similar between all cultivars. Cultivars with adequate Zn supply did not differ in uptake and root-to-shoot translocation rate of 65Zn, but under Zn deficiency there were distinct differences; rye showed the highest rate of Zn uptake and the durum wheat the lowest. In the case of bread wheat cultivars, 65Zn uptake rate was about the same and not related to their differential Zn efficiency. Under Zn deficiency, rye had the highest rate of root-to-shoot translocation of 65Zn, while all bread and durum wheat cultivars were similar in their capacity to translocate 65Zn from roots to shoots. When Zn2+ activity in uptake solution ranged between 117 p M and 34550 pM, Zn-efficient and Zn-inefficient bread wheat genotypes were again similar in uptake and root-to-shoot translocation rate of 65Zn.
The results indicate that high Zn efficiency of rye can be attributed to its greater Zn uptake capacity from soils. The inability of the durum wheat cultivar Kunduru-1149 to have a high Zn uptake capacity seems to be an important reason for its Zn inefficiency. Differential Zn efficiency between the bread wheat cultivars used in this study is not related to their capacity to take up inorganic Zn.