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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Grain Quality and Structure Research » Research » Research Project #428979

Research Project: Impact of Environmental Variation on Genetic Expression (phenotype) of Hard Winter Wheat Quality Traits

Location: Grain Quality and Structure Research

2019 Annual Report

Objective 1: Integration of experimental hard winter wheat germplasm, containing variability in starch and protein quality, into commercial usage across a range of production and meteorological climates. [C1; PS 1.A] Sub-objective 1A: Correlate starch and protein physiochemical changes with environmental variability for key hard winter wheat cultivars. Sub-objective 1B: Correlate the falling number test to the glucose meter for the detection of sprout damage in wheat. Objective 2: Congressionally directed mission of service, and non-hypothesis driven, the USDA-ARS Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory will identify, evaluate, and screen the intrinsic end-use quality of hard winter wheat progenies in the Great Plains growing region to enhance cultivar development. [C1; PS 1.A] Sub-objective 2A: Evaluate and screen the quality attributes of hard winter wheat experimental breeding lines and improve quality of existing hard winter wheat cultivars for end-product quality of world’s wheat-based staples, such as bread (whole wheat), tortillas, and noodles and other product analyses, including enzymatic analyses to enhance intrinsic wheat quality desired by customer markets. Sub-objective 2B: Coordinate and conduct essential hard winter wheat projects of national importance, such as Wheat Quality Council (WQC), Regional Performance Nursery (RPN) and Hard Winter Wheat Crop Quality Survey (HWWCQS) for improvement of U.S wheat quality.

Cereal grains are the foundation of nutrition worldwide with the United States being a perennial leader in hard winter wheat (HWW) production and quality. Thus, domestic and international customers come to expect high quality wheat from the Great Plains. That said, there continues to be a fierce international competition for the global HWW market. U.S. wheat breeders, researchers, quality laboratories and producers are under continuous demands to deliver quality HWW just to hold a competitive edge in both domestic and international markets. Genetic and environmental variability are critical factors that affect HWW grain composition (starch and protein) and end-product quality (pre-harvest sprouting). To meet these challenges this project is composed of a multidisciplinary team that set objectives to determine the effect of HWW protein and starch in response to critical abiotic stress events. The project plan will also include the congressionally-mandated activities of the USDA Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory (HWWQL). Due to recent reductions in funding, this Congressionally mandated laboratory utilizes in excess of 83% of the resources’ dedicated to this project. The HWWQL provides critical end-use quality data to the HWW growing region, and conducts three annual evaluation projects that include the Wheat Quality Council Evaluations, Regional Performance Nursery Program, and Hard Winter Wheat Crop Quality Survey. The data from these projects assist breeders, producers, millers, bakers, and other key industry components, in making pivotal decisions regarding breeding, agronomics, processing and marketing of experimental and commercial wheat varieties, as well as vital information regarding the environmental impact on established wheat cultivars.

Progress Report
Objective 1: Sub-objective 1A: A heat tent was employed to induce and subsequently determine the impact of heat stress on the protein and starch in 15 wheat cultivars and lines grown under control and heat tent conditions. Storage proteins were extracted and polymeric proteins measured on the wheat cultivars and lines. The ratio of total polymeric protein to monomeric protein is a measurement that correlates to dough strength. In five (33.3%) of the samples (WB-Cedar, Zenda, Larry, SY Monument, and Joe) a statistically significant (p<0.05) decrease in this ratio was observed, while no significant difference was observed in 10 (66.6%) of the samples. These data indicate that the majority of lines were able to abrogate the detrimental effects associated with increased temperature. Starch was isolated and analyzed from the aforementioned wheat samples. Statistical analysis has not been completed on total starch, amylose:amylopectin and starch size distribution (Sub-objective 1a), although preliminary results indicate little variation in the starch properties due to excessive heat conditions. Sub-objective 1B: Alpha amylase activity analysis has been completed for all lab sprouted samples and field sprouted samples. Lab sprouted samples have shown an increasing amount of activity qualitatively and quantitatively in both falling number and Megazyme’s Alpha Amylase SD method, in respect to the degree samples were subject to sprouting prior to drying. Several field samples (provided by Oregon State University) have shown an increased amount of alpha amylase activity as well. An extraction method has been developed so that glucose analysis may be carried out using both blood glucose monitor and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) from a single extraction. Blood glucose monitor analysis on lab sprouted extracts show an increasing amount of glucose with respect the amount time samples were subject to sprouting. HPLC results also indicate changes in carbohydrate profile which vary between wheat varieties. HPLC will still need to be optimized to better quantify glucose peak. Currently glucose and fructose are not separating enough to carry accurate quantitative analysis. Preliminary work has begun on using potentiostat to develop a means to increase sensitivity of glucose detection in lab sprouted samples. Objective 2: The Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory (HWWQL) provides critical information to the plant breeding community, domestic and international markets on an annual basis (Sub-objective 2A). End-use quality evaluation of experimental wheat lines in the USDA Regional Performance Nurseries, as well as evaluation of advanced lines submitted to the Wheat Quality Council, are service/research activities critical to the continued success of the Hard Winter Wheat (HWW) industry (Sub-objective 2B). In total, over 2000 wheat samples were tested by the HWWQL, with over 40 quality characteristics reported for each sample submitted. Real-time wheat quality data were also provided to the wheat industry during the annual wheat harvest and updated on a weekly basis for potential buyers. Over 600 wheat samples were tested specifically for this wheat industry milling and baking survey.

1. Annual Hard Winter Wheat Crop Quality Survey. ARS scientists in Manhattan, Kansas, completed the annual Hard Winter Wheat Crop Quality Survey in which over 600 individual, and over 100 composite, hard winter wheat (HWW) samples were evaluated for milling and baking quality. The resulting data was posted in real-time to a webpage managed by Plains Grain, Inc. as the harvest progressed; the data was also used by U.S. Wheat Associates in their final annual report for domestic and international export customers.

Review Publications
Montagner, T.S., De Miranda, M.Z., Prando, A.M., Tilley, M., Payton, M.E., Rayas-Duarte, P. 2019. Gluten viscoelasticity: Rapid method for classification of soft-like wheat genotypes. Cereal Chemistry. 96:167-181.
Liu, L., Barnett, M.D., Griffey, C.A., Malla, S., Brooks, W.S., Seago, J.E., Kirby, K., Thomason, W.E., Rucker, E.G., Behl, H.D., Pitman, R.M., Dunaway, D.W., Vaughn, M.E., Custis, J.T., Seabourn, B.W., Chen, Y.R., Fountain, M.O., Marshall, D.S., Graybosch, R.A., Divis, L.A., Hansen, L.E., Cowger, C., Cambron, S.E., Jin, Y., Beahm, B.R., Hardiman, T.H., Lin, C.J., Mennel, D.F., Mennel, D.L. 2018. Registration of "LCS Compass" Wheat. Journal of Plant Registrations. 13:50-57.
Mohammed, S., Huggins, T., Beecher, F., Chick, C., Sengodon, P., Mondal, S., Paudel, A., Ibrahim, A., Tilley, M., Hays, D.B. 2018. The role of leaf epicuticular wax in the adaptation of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to high temperatures and moisture deficit conditions. Crop Science. 58:679-689.
Rudd, J.C., Devkota, R.N., Ibrahim, A.M., Baker, J.A., Baker, S., Lazar, M.D., Sutton, R., Simoneaux, B., Opena, G., Rooney, L.W., Awika, J.M., Liu, S., Xue, Q., Bean, B., Duncan, R.W., Seabourn, B.W., Bowden, R.L., Jin, Y., Chen, M., Graybosch, R.A. 2018. ‘TAM 114’ wheat, excellent bread-making quality hard red winter wheat cultivar adapted to the southern high plains. Journal of Plant Registrations.