Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Wheat Genetics, Quality Physiology and Disease Research

2005 Annual Report

1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter?
Wheat quality is defined by how successfully wheat and flour perform in consumer products. Enhancing wheat quality improves processing efficiencies, makes more desirable and more diverse consumer products and ensures the competitiveness of farmers, grain merchandisers, millers, and end processors. This project aims to enhance wheat quality through the identification and study of important quality traits, to cooperatively incorporate superior traits into new wheat varieties, and to aid millers and end processors in better utilizing superior quality wheats and flours. Implementation of this aim is through three means:.
1)study of the molecular and genetic basis of quality traits (and variability of traits),.
2)development and adaptation of methodology that identifies and tracks superior quality (and variability), and.
3)information exchange with all levels of wheat production and utilization from farmer to end processor.

Wheat is the number one food crop in the world. Efficient and innovative use of wheat grain depends on both controlling and exploiting variation in its basic quality traits. Variation provides opportunities, but variation must also be understood, monitored and controlled. We seek to deploy desirable quality traits via cooperative breeding efforts and release of superior varieties. Through these means, the wheat utilization and food industries are supplied with superior raw material. The value of the farmer's crop and the efficiency and profitability of the processing and food industries are enhanced. U.S. agriculture also gains competitiveness abroad in export markets.

This project is conducted under NP306, New Uses, Quality, and Marketability of Plant Products, through the "Intrinsic Product Quality" and "New Processes, New Uses and, Value-Added Products" components; and contributes to NP 301, Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, And Genetic Improvement through the "Genetic Resource Management" and "Genomic Characterization, Manipulation, and Genetic Improvement" components. Subordinate CRIS projects include: 5348-43440-003-07S, "Fundamental Basis of Wheat Grain Quality", 5348- 43440-003-01T, "Modification of cereal grain hardness via expression of puroindoline proteins", 5348-43440-003-10T, " Delineation of the role of polyphenol oxidase in the discoloration of Asian noodles" and 5348-43440-003-08T, "Assess Quality of Oregon Wheat Breeding Lines."

2.List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan.
• Objective 1. Collaboratively develop superior wheat cultivars for the Western U.S. by measuring, analyzing and interpreting the grain, milling, and end-use quality of experimental wheat breeding lines.

For each year during the 5-year project, we anticipate evaluating the quality of approximately 7,000 breeding samples of various sizes. Typically, samples are received beginning in late September through December with the last analyses, evaluations, and statistical analyses completed by early August of the following calendar year. Based on prior experience, we anticipate that collaborating breeding programs will release 2-4 new cultivars per year. Key milestones during each crop year are the PNW Wheat Quality Council collaborative sample review in late January, WSU Variety Release Committee review in early February, and commencement of spring planting in late February.

• Objective 2: Understand and genetically manipulate wheat kernel texture (hardness), including the role of puroindolines, puroindoline-like proteins, and pentosans (arabinoxylans).

Year 1. Obtain germ plasm and begin analysis of "world" wheats, Aegilops tauschii accessions, and CIMMYT synthetic hexaploids. Begin greenhouse plant culture, and vernalization; begin SKCS hardness analysis; begin DNA isolation and puroindoline and GSP-1 gene sequencing; continue with back-crossing of near-isogenic lines. Identify ESTs and physical location of arabinoxylan genes; obtain the appropriate deletion stocks, parents, and other genetic stocks; begin propagation in greenhouse.

Year 2. Continue obtaining puroindoline and GSP-1 gene sequences, make preliminary assessments of results; perform 2nd or 3rd round of greenhouse plant culture; propagate mixed-hardness cultivars, propagate and attempt to cross synthetic accessions with unique sequences and/or kernel phenotypes; continue with back-crossing of near-isogenic lines. As timing permits, plant spring and winter wheat lines for arabinoxylan studies in the field. Obtain arabinoxylan gene sequences.

Year 3. Continue obtaining puroindoline and GSP-1 gene sequences, make preliminary analyses of data and draft manuscripts describing results; perform 4th to 6th round of greenhouse plant culture if needed; propagate mixed-hardness or problematic cultivars, continue to propagate and cross synthetic accessions with unique sequences and/or kernel phenotypes; continue with back-crossing of near-isogenic lines. Grow any F1 progeny resulting from synthetic hexaploid crosses. As timing permits, plant spring and winter wheat lines for arabinoxylan studies in the field. If identified as useful, plant mapping population(s) in the field. Complete arabinoxylan gene sequences.

Year 4. Analyze kernel texture data and puroindoline and GSP-1 gene sequence data, prepare manuscripts. Continue with back-crossing of near-isogenic lines. Grow any F1 or subsequent progeny resulting from synthetic hexaploid crosses. Depending on timing, may still be growing spring or winter wheat lines for arabinoxylan studies in the field.

Year 5. Continue with back-crossing of near-isogenic lines. Conduct kernel texture, milling, flour quality and baking tests on "arabinoxylan" lines; analyze data with gene sequences, prepare manuscripts. Continue propagating any crosses derived from synthetic hexaploids, begin evaluating F3 kernels from individual F2 plants.

4a.What was the single most significant accomplishment this past year?
Grain hardness (texture) is the single most important trait governing wheat quality and utilization, and variation reduces processing efficiencies. The Western Wheat Quality Laboratory and Washington State University collaborators investigated puroindoline and Grain Softness Protein genes in a number of diploid progenitors of wheat and ‘synthetic’ wheats. The effect of the maternal parent on kernel texture was assessed; this work extended the genetic basis of cereal grain texture (i.e. variation in the puroindoline a and b proteins) and demonstrated further that specific, naturally-occurring gene mutations cause wheat grain to be harder, and wild-type sequences could complement mutant forms. Understanding the relationship between these gene sequences and grain texture will facilitate the enhancement of wheat and other cereal quality, and lead to the control of variation in texture.

4b.List other significant accomplishments, if any.
Waxy wheat is a new potential crop for the world as it has not heretofore existed; processors need new raw materials from U.S. agriculture. The Western Wheat Quality Laboratory produced ‘Penawawa-X’ experimental waxy wheat germplasm. This germplasm was developed via back-cross breeding; and the establishment of a CRADA with Kellogg Co was initiated for product development. Waxy (zero amylose content starch) wheat provides a unique opportunity for food processors to develop new and innovative food products.

4c.List any significant activities that support special target populations.

4d.Progress report.

5.Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact.
This project has two main components: the first involves the detailed evaluation and assessment of literally thousands of experimental wheat breeding lines each year from the Western U.S. The second involves the in-depth elucidation of the molecular-genetics of wheat quality and utilization, the development of new quality testing methodology, and the cooperative commercialization of new products and technology. Accomplishments include the release to growers of a number of superior wheat varieties; the development of an alkaline noodle color method, a whole-seed PPO enzyme assay, and the "micronized" Solvent Retention Capacity test; the demonstration that puroindolines control cereal grain hardness, and significant advancement of molecular-genetics of starch composition and quality, product discoloration and polyphenol oxidase.

6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
An understanding of the role of puroindoline proteins in effecting grain softness in wheat is being applied to modify the grain texture of maize. New wheat varieties were cooperatively released to farmers to improve overall grain quality, production and utilization. A small-scale solvent retention capacity profile method for use on ground-grain has been developed for use in evaluating end-use suitability of samples in early generation wheat breeding programs. New soft white wheat germ plasm that is fully waxy (has 0% amylose), a type of wheat with different end-use applications is under increase in the field and research lots of grain will be available for evaluation by interested parties this year. An improved whole-seed enzyme assay that was developed at the WWQL is being used to measure the level of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in wheat in nearly all hard wheat breeding programs in the U.S., thereby predicting the level of enzyme darkening in wheat breeding lines destined for Asian noodles. Wheat breeders, cereal chemists, millers and bakers can quickly assess the level and variability of PPO in grain lots to reduce variability and enhance wheat quality and flour utilization.

Review Publications
Chung, O.K., Gaines, C.S., Morris, C.F., Hareland, G.A. 2004. Roles of the four ars regional wheat quality laboratories in u.s. wheat quality improvement. International Cereal and Bread Congress Proceedings. pp. 1-5.

Gedye, K.R., Morris, C.F., Bettge, A.D. 2004. Determination and evaluation of the sequence and textural effects of puroindoline a and puroindoline b genes in a population of synthetic hexaploid wheat. Theor. Appl. Genet. 109:1597-1603.

Gedye, K.R., Morris, C.F., Bettge, A.D., Freston, M.J., King, G.E. 2004. Synthetic hexaploid wheats can expand the range of puroindoline haplotypes and kernel texture in triticum aestivum. Cereal Conference Royal Australian Chemical Institute Proceedings. pp 220-222.

Morris, C.F. 2004. Proteins, hardness and allergens. International Wheat Quality Conference. pp. 65-72.

Morris, C.F. 2004. Cereals/ grain - quality attributes. IN: Encyclopedia of Grain Science. C. Wrigley, H. Corke and C.E. Walker (eds.) Elsevier Science, London, UK. pp. 238-254.

Xia, L., Chen, F., He, Z., Chen, X., Morris, C.F. 2005. Occurrence of puroindoline alleles in chinese winter wheats. Cereal Chem 82:38-43.

Gedye, K.R., Bettge, A.D., King, G.E., Morris, C.F. 2005. Evaluation of maternal parent and puroindoline allele on kernel texture in a reciprocal cross between two hard spring wheat cultivars. Euphytica 141:121-127.

Ziska, L.H., Morris, C.F., Goins, E.W. 2004. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of selected wheat varieties released since 1903 to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide: can yield sensitivity to carbon dioxide be a factor in wheat performance?. Global Change Biology 10:1810-1819.

Massa, A.N., Morris, C.F., Gill, B.S. 2004. Sequence diversity of puroindoline-a, puroindoline-b and the grain softness protein genes in Aegilops tauschii coss. Crop Sci. 44:1808-1816.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page