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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Enhance Wheat Quality, Functionality and Marketability in the Western U.S.

Location: Wheat Genetics, Quality Physiology and Disease Research

Title: The house mouse (Mus musculus L.) exerts strong differential grain consumption preferences amongst hard red and white spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) varieties in a single-elimination tournament design

item Morris, Craig
item Fuerst, E -
item Mclean, D -
item Momont, K -
item James, C -

Research conducted cooperatively with:

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 7, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Wheat is the most widely grown cereal and has played a central role in the nourishment of mankind since the advent of agriculture. Wheat possesses a diverse array of genetic traits, and one category of traits that has received little attention in research is that of taste, flavor and aroma. The primary interest of this manuscript is to use mice to identify genes associated with flavor, and then relate this back to human sensory preferences. In this study, a group of individually housed mice were provided preference choices of mixed kernels of hard red or hard white spring wheat varieties grown under a single field environment. The study was designed so an overall 'winner' (that variety found most desirable in sequential preference trials), and 'loser' (that variety found most undesirable) were identified for each of the two kernel color classes. The generalized study design is helpful in evaluating sensory preference attributes of wheat grain and may identify a sub-set of varieties to include in human sensory studies. Tournament design and graph theory are effective disciplines to help with the conduct of preference trials using mice and wheat, and ultimately may help identify flavor genes desired by humans.

Technical Abstract: Wheat (Triticum aestivum) plays a central role in the health and nutrition of humans. Yet, little is known about possible flavor differences among different varieties. We have developed a model system using the house mouse (Mus musculus) to determine feeding preferences as a prelude to extending results to human sensory analysis. Here we examine the application of a single elimination tournament design to the analysis of consumption preferences of a set of hard red and white spring wheat varieties. More preferred varieties were advanced until an overall ‘winner’ was identified; conversely less desirable varieties were advanced such that an overall ‘loser’ was identified. For hard red and white varieties the winners were Hollis and Clear White 515, respectively; the losers were IDO702 and WA8123, respectively. When using 14 mice and a 4 d trial, mean daily consumption were separated at P-values as small as 2 × 10-8. The single elimination tournament design is an efficient means of identifying the most and least desirable varieties amongst a larger set of samples.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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