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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Genetic and Biochemical Basis of Soft Winter Wheat Quality

Location: Corn, Soybean and Wheat Quality Research Unit

2013 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Develop rapid methods to detect improved milling and flour quality in commerce. 2. Develop improved standard cake baking method and alternatives for chlorinated flour. 3. Characterize the anatomical and biochemical differences linked to genetic markers for quality in collaboration with regional genotyping labs and state breeding programs. 4. Define soft wheat quality targets and measure eastern U.S. soft wheat breeding materials against those targets for the breeding programs and the milling industry.

1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The SWQL devotes between 60 and 70% of its efforts to testing new wheat germplasm for suitability as cultivars of the soft winter wheat classes. It uses American Association of Cereal Chemistry standard protocols that allow results to be compared across regions and through time. The results are compiled into multi-year datasets to test for improved milling and baking characteristics of new cultivars. The results of collaborative evaluations of milling and baking quality in breeding materials have been used to improve both the understanding and the genetic structure of breeding populations. To improve the selection of cultivars and use of soft wheat we will develop rapid methods to detect improved milling and flour quality in commerce. We will select untempered milling methods in combination with other rapid methods to measure milling and flour quality by measuring milling yield by standard AACC methods and then comparing them to samples milled with reduced tempering to generate prediction models. We also will select NIR or NIR with hyperspectral analysis methods to measure milling and flour quality. Baking method improvement will focus on cake baking methods and alternatives for chlorinated flour. We will develop a cake baking method with zero-trans fat shortening through standard testing of formula modification. Then it will be used to compare the effects of heat treatment, chlorination and GBSS mutation (waxy wheat) on starch pasting and cake baking performance. The optimum treatments will be combined to test the use of waxy wheat flour for replacing chlorinated flour for cake baking. Milling quality may relate to specific anatomical differences linked to genetic markers for quality. We will compare grain from near-isogenic lines for milling and flour quality. Specifically we will contrast cells from maternal tissue, aleurone and sub-aleurone from near-isogenic lines. Finally all this information will be summarized and reviewed through industry panels on a regular basis to refine the soft wheat quality targets and measure eastern U.S. soft wheat breeding materials against those targets for the breeding programs and the milling industry.

3.Progress Report:
This project improves the milling and end-use quality potentials of soft wheat varieties developed and grown in the eastern US by working cooperatively with wheat breeding programs for development of wheat varieties possessing superior end-use quality. We developed the end-use quality targets of soft wheat and tested over 4000 breeding lines from 22 public and private breeding programs for grain and flour quality traits, milling and food product performance. The data was analyzed and provided to breeders for selection of breeding lines meeting the quality targets. We also conducted collaborative research projects on the effects of harvest moisture content of wheat on milling and baking quality, a comparison between early and late harvest on falling number (pre-harvest sprouting index) of grain and the use of a near infrared analyzer for estimation of wheat milling quality with 3 research institutions. We studied the genetic variation in bran composition and its association with functional properties of whole grain wheat flour to find that soft wheat bran was lower in insoluble dietary fiber and phytate content, and consequently imparts less negative effect on processing and product quality than hard wheat bran. This information is helpful for selecting wheat grain and genotypes better suited for whole grain products. We mapped, in collaboration with Ohio State University, two major genetic regions influencing end-use quality of soft wheat, including a novel quantitative trait locus on chromosome 2b.This locus may provide genetic markers for improved milling. We organized and led the soft red wheat Overseas Varietal Analysis (OVA) and Wheat Quality Council (WQC) projects, which involved extensive end-use quality tests of newly released varieties and advanced breeding lines by overseas and domestic millers and food manufacturers. These efforts allow the newly developed wheat varieties to be evaluated by the actual wheat buyers and processors against the quality targets we developed. We wrote the OVA, WQC and Soft Wheat Quality Laboratory Annual Reports. We started investigating the effects of storage time of wheat flour after milling and grain after harvest on the quality evaluation test values for improvement of our quality evaluation protocol. We initiated development of a cake baking test using non-chlorinated flour for the implementation of routine evaluation of soft red wheat breeding lines for cake baking potential.

1. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for milling quality of soft wheat. Current methods for evaluating milling quality of wheat grain involve small scale milling, sieving and weighing size fractionated samples requiring a full year’s growing and harvest season. Identification of genetic markers associated with milling quality would allow for breeding programs to evaluate wheat plants at the seedling stage, and make selections in the greenhouse, decreasing generation time and reducing the number of lines grown in the field for milling evaluation. ARS scientists in Wooster, OH used an association mapping population to identify a milling QTL for flour yield on a wheat chromosome. They then used a mapping population derived from a cross between a line with high flour yield (Foster) by one with low flour yield (Kanqueen), to verify that lines carrying same chromosomal region from Foster also have good milling quality along with improved softness. Markers developed from this segment of chromosome will allow researchers to identify the preferred alleles in breeding materials and will reduce the time and efforts needed for development of wheat varieties with good milling quality.

2. Genetic variation in wheat bran composition. Wheat bran gives nutritional benefits, but at the same time negatively affects food product quality and sensory acceptance. We know little about the characteristics of bran that make it nutritionally desirable or disfavored for food uses. Further, little is known about genetic control of these characteristics in wheat. ARS scientists in Wooster, OH and Washington State University studied genetic variation in the composition of wheat bran and its association with processing and product quality to identify the desirable characteristics of wheat for whole grain products. We found significant quantitative differences in dietary fiber, ash, protein, phytates, phenolics and minerals between wheat classes and genotypes. We identified that bran with lower insoluble dietary fiber and phytate were more desirable for making whole wheat bread than bran with high insoluble dietary fiber and phytate content. This information is useful for selecting wheat grain and genotypes better suited for making whole grain food products that have improved quality and sensory acceptance, potentially contributing to the increased consumption of whole grain wheat foods.

Review Publications
Lewis, J.M., Siler, L., Ellis, D., Souza, E.J., Ng, P., Brown Guedira, G.L., Dong, Y.H., Jiang, G.L., Ward, R.W. 2012. Registration of "MSU E5024" wheat. Journal of Plant Registrations. 6(3):333-341.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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