As in other countries around the Mediterranean basin, in Portugal, barley, rye, oats and, mainly, bread wheat and durum wheat have an important role in the development of agriculture and human and animal feed. In 2012 the area occupied with cereals reached 356.000ha being 51.000ha cultivated with wheat. In Portugal, wheat breeding started in the earlier 20th century, and after 1942 breeders were installed in the Center-East of the country, in a city called Elvas at the former National Plant Breeding Station called now National Institute of Agricultural and Veterinarian Research (INIAV). This site is situated in a region that represents the main edafo-climatic conditions of the wheat growing areas in Portugal. As a staple food, wheat is an obvious candidate for biofortification strategies that help to enhance the zinc, iron and others important micronutrients status on an entire population. The cultivation of well-adapted wheat varieties enriched in Zn and Fe can be an effective way to improve the status of those micronutrients. At INIAV (Elvas), the exploitation of genetic variability of existing wheat germplasm by new crosses, evaluation and selection of segregating populations evolving new cereal varieties adapted to our Mediterranean constraints, aiming to achieve higher concentrations of micronutrients in edible parts (grains for humans or straw for animal feed) is also an important objective. Using agronomic or genetic options to obtain higher contents of micronutrients in cereal varieties is an important way to diversify and to increase the net income of farmers.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2012|