ZINC BIOFORTIFICATION OF LENTIL
Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik. ssp. culinaris) is an important legume crop in western Canada and a popular nutritious food in the Mediterranean and south Asian regions. Micronutrient deficiency is recognized as hidden hunger in the world. Zinc is essential for all forms of life on the planet and plays a significant role in normal growth, development, and reproduction in plants. Lentil is considered to be one of the cheapest sources of dietary Zn, which plays a major role for normal growth, development, and activity of various enzymes in humans and animals. Lentil production in Saskatchewan contributes to the Canadian economy. Whole and split lentils are exported to many developing countries where Zn deficiency is identified as potential problem. This research was aimed at investigating the potential for biofortification of Zn in lentils. The research objectives were to: i) optimize the amount of lentil seeds required for reliable estimation of Zn concentration, ii) screen representative wild lentil genotypes from all Lens species for Zn uptake in lentil seeds during three different seasonal harvests, and iii) study Genotype × Environmental influences on Zn accumulation in intraspecific lentil recombinant inbred lines (RILs) population. Using flame atomic absorption spectrometry (F-AAS) a wide range of Zn concentration was measured in a collection of lentil genotypes. Seed sample sizes of 0.3 g for wild lentil seeds and 0.5g of cultivated lentil seeds were determined to be the minimum amount required for the precise and repeatable estimation of Zn concentration in lentil seeds. Field experiments were conducted in 2014 and 2015 for the estimation of genotype and harvest interactions for seed Zn concentration in Lens species at two locations at Saskatoon, Canada. Mature seeds were harvested three times from all individual genotypes during the lentil growing season. All Lens species were significantly different for seed Zn concentration. Limited effects of genotype by harvest interaction were observed for seed Zn concentration in 2014. However, the same trend was not observed in 2015 trial. Lentil intraspecific recombinant inbred lines (RIL) designated as LR-08 population was made from the cross of CDC Redberry and ILL 7502 and 120 individuals of this population along with parents were evaluated in four environments at Saskatoon during the lentil growing season in 2014-15. Seeds of these individual RIL were analyzed for estimation of Zn concentration. A wide range of seed Zn concentration (31- 45 mg kg ⁻¹) variation was observed in RILs of LR-08. The genotype by environmental interaction effects was not significant for seed Zn concentration. However, Genotype by environmental interaction showed significant effects only for thousand seed weight. Thousand seed weight was observed as the most highly stable and heritable trait among the LR-08 RIL population. Correlation analysis indicated significant positive correlation between plant height and Zn concentration of lentil seeds in 2015. However, seed Zn concentration was negatively correlated with the days to flowering, days to maturity, and thousand seed weight. Days to flowering and days to maturity were highly correlated.
Master of Science (M.Sc.)