Relationship between mineral fertilization, plant macro- and microelement contents and yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

L. Nenova*, M. Benkova, Ts. Simeonova, I. Atanassova

Institute of Soil Science, Agrotechnologies and Plant Protection “N. Poushkarov”, Agricultural Academy, 1331 Sofia, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 20 January 2023; accepted for publication 14 December 2023)

Abstract. The effectiveness of mineral fertilization on wheat productivity was determined in a field experiment on Alluvial-meadow soil (Fluvisol, FAO 2015) at the experimental field of Tsalapitsa village, Plovdiv region, during 2019-2020. Four increasing rates of nitrogen fertilization along with a constant background of phosphorus fertilization were tested in the following variants: N40P100; N80P100; N120P100; N160P100, and N0P0 (control) – without any fertilization. The influence of these variants on yield and the content of basic macro- and microelements in wheat’s dry biomass were assessed. Plant samples were collected at the full maturity phase of wheat, with each variant sampled in triplicate, to determine the concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Zn, Mn, and Fe. Correlation analysis and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were employed to identify dependencies between observed variables. Significant differences between the variants for N% content in grain, chaff and straw of wheat were established. The highest nitrogen values were observed in the grain of the N160P100 and N120P100 variants, at 2.10% and 2.02%, respectively. The applied fertilization had a significant positive effect on the accumulation of potassium, calcium, copper, manganese and iron in wheat biomass. This finding was supported by the correlation coefficients between fertilizer rates and N (R = 0.948), Ca (R = 0.854), Cu (R = 0.681), Mn (R = 0.735), and Fe (R = 0.769) in the wheat grain. Significant yield differences were observed among the variants, with the highest yield recorded for N120P100 (7123.0 kg/ha), more than tripling that of the control variant. The uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium by the total biomass of wheat increased depending on the fertilization rates and it was the highest in the N120P100 variant.