The topic of N wheat nutrition was prevalent during the last decades of the 20th
century for many reasons such as energy
crises, profitability of small grain production, and ecosystem protection and preservation. The objective of this study
was to determine the interrelationships between wheat ( Triticum
L.) grain N content and other indicators of N
nutrition efficiency to better understand the N nutrition process in wheat plants. The experiment included 30 wheat cultivars
and experimental lines from Serbia. Plant samples of each genotype were taken at anthesis and maturity. The following
parameters related to N accumulation and translocation within the wheat plant were calculated: N content (at anthesis, grain,
straw, and total at maturity), N harvest index (NHI), N reutilization (N reU), and N lost (-) or gained (N post-anthesis).
Our results showed that N content in the aboveground part of the plant expressed very strong direct positive effects on N
yield (phenotypic coefficient 3.78** to 9.34** and genotypic coefficient 1.43** to 2.32**), while its indirect effects varied.
The influence of independent variables on grain N content has been changing from year to year in a negative way. Total N
accumulation (N total) had the highest negative direct effect in the first year of the study (phenotypic coefficient -2.11**),
N total in the second (phenotypic coefficient -2.78**), and N reutilization in the third (phenotypic coefficient -8.49**).
Genotypic coefficients indicate that the most frequent strong direct negative effect was N reutilization (-0.47** and -0.99**
in the first 2 yr of research, respectively). Nitrogen reutilization and its current assimilation are very important and related
to grain N supply processes. Their interaction leads to the conclusion that forming N yield is a very complex mechanism
and, as a result, grain yield and quality. The abovementioned parameters could be considered as important criteria in wheat
breeding to improve production efficiency and reduce adverse impacts of N fertilizers on the ecosystem.