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Dario Iljkić

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Acquisition of mineral nutrients and their translocation and accumulation in the plant depend on the genotype and environmental factors. Therefore, the aim of the research was to determine genetic specificity of maize hybrids for concentrations of Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu in plant material and to determine the influence of agro-ecological conditions on both the microelements concentration in the leaves and grain, and the grain yield of maize. The field experiment was conducted with ten maize hybrids of different FAO groups (DRAVA 404, OS 430, OSSK 444, OS 499, OSSK 515, OS 5717, OSSK 552, OSSK 596, OSSK 602 and OSSK 617) over two years on two locations in Osijek-Baranja County. The experimental locations were differed in soil properties. Soil in Osijek is eutric cambisol, slightly acid to neutral reaction, while soil in Podgorač belongs to pseudogley type with very low pH. The two analyzed year were very different regarding climatological elements, especially n terms of rainfall. The year 2010 was extremely wet, while 2011 was less favorable for the maize growing because of drought period and higher average air temperature. The mean maize grain yield in the experiment was 8.61 t ha-1. Combined analysis of variance was shown statistically significant effects of individual factors (hybrids, locations and years), as well as all interactions on grain yield, especially interaction locations x years. The higher yield was achieved in Osijek in comparison with Podgorač. The concentration of most microelements in leaf and grain were significantly (P≤0.05) influenced by all main factors and hybrids showed a certain genetic variation regarding microelements concentrations. Average values of the concentrations (mg kg-1) in the leaf of hybrids ranged from 97 to 164 (Fe), from 76 to 110 (Mn), from 17.3 to 34.7 (Zn) and from 6.1 to 10.1 (Cu), and in grain from 16.7 to 27.5 (Fe), from 3.5 to 5.3 (Mn), from 15.6 to 19.4 (Zn) and from 1.5 to 2, 5 (Cu). Protein, oil and starch content in maize grain were significantly affected (P≤0.05) by hybrids, locations and years with the exception of the year impact on the oil content and the location and year on the content of starch in maize grain. Results showed that interaction of soil properties and weather conditions considerably affect maize yield and concentration of microelements in plant. Also, this dissertation suggests further research for better understanding of the complex relationship of genotype and environment.


maize hybrids, agroecological conditions, microelements, grain quality

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