Worldwide demand for tef (Eragrostis tef) as a functional food for human consumption is increasing, thanks to its nutritional benefits and gluten-free properties. As a result, tef in now grown outside its native environment in Ethiopia and thus information is required regarding plant nutrition demands in these areas, as well as resulting grain health-related composition. In the current work, two tef genotypes were grown in Israel under irrigation in two platforms, plots in the field and pots in a greenhouse, with four and five nitrogen treatments, respectively. Nutritional and health-related quality traits were analyzed, including mineral content, fatty acid composition, hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidative capacity, total phenolic content and basic polyphenolic profile. Our results show that tef genotypes differ in their nutritional composition, e.g. higher phenolic contents in the brown compared to the white genotype. Additionally, nitrogen availability positively affected grain fatty acid composition and iron levels in both experiments, while negatively affecting total phenolics in the field trials. To conclude, nitrogen fertilization is crucial for crop growth and productivity, however it also implicates nutritional value of the grains as food. These effects should be considered when fertilizing tef with nitrogen, to optimize both crop productivity and nutritional effects.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by the Center for Fertilization and Plant Nutrition (CFPN), https://www.cfpn.center. This publication forms part of the material submitted by Ella Simhon to the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in partial fulfillment of requirements for the M.Sc. degree. DAA acknowledges Agricultural Research Organization, for providing ARO -Post Doctoral Fellowship. YS is the incumbent of the Haim Gvati Chair in Agriculture.
© 2020, The Author(s).