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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 #437962

Research Project: Measurement and Improvement of Hard Winter Wheat End-Use Quality Traits

Location: Grain Quality and Structure Research

2022 Annual Report

OBJECTIVE 1: Determine and improve analytical methods for the biochemical and macro-molecular interactions responsible for hard winter wheat end-use quality. Sub-objective 1A: Establish connections between glutenin subunit composition and polymeric protein content and composition and functionality of hard winter wheat. Subobjective 1B: Assess the potential of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in the evaluation of tortilla quality, particularly changes that occur in tortillas during the staling process and compare to subjective analysis (rollability) and objective analysis. OBJECTIVE 2: Evaluate and report the milling (processing and intrinsic end-use quality) parameters of hard winter wheat commercially-viable cultivars as part of a Congressionally-designated direct mission of service. Subobjective 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 the world’s wheat-based staples, such as bread (whole wheat), tortillas, noodles and other products desired by customer markets. Subobjective 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 food and nutrition worldwide with the United States being a perennial leader in hard winter wheat (HWW) production. Thus, domestic and international customers come to expect high quality wheat from the Great Plains. That said, there continues to be challenging international competition for the global HWW market. To ensure the U.S. remains competitive both domestically and internationally, the end-use quality of hard HWW must continually be evaluated and improved. This project will identify the physical and biochemical components of hard winter wheat that contribute to functionality. In addition, we will evaluate the intrinsic end-use quality of hard winter wheat progenies for wheat breeding programs in the Great Plains Area as a regional wheat quality laboratory (Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory, HWWQL). 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, as well as hundreds of breeding lines from breeders in the Great Plains and adapted HWW areas of eastern States, such as NC, SC, GA, KY and VA. 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.

Progress Report
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. Effect of cricket protein powder addition to wheat flour dough. Protein is a vital macronutrient in the human diet typically obtained from either animal or plant-based foods. With world population expected to increase substantially, novel, alternative protein sources are being investigated, one of which is insects. To investigate how the addition of insect protein may impact food product functionality, ARS researchers in Manhattan, Kansas, and Kansas State University studied how the processing of commercially available cricket protein powders impacted wheat flour functionality. Commercial cricket protein powders that were dry roasted during processing reduced the protein molecular weight distribution in wheat dough and reduced dough strength. Conversely, cricket protein powders that were pasteurized increased the molecular weight distribution in wheat dough and increased dough strength. Addition of either cricket protein powder reduced bread quality and appearance, especially at levels above 5% addition, this is important to know how this ingredient could impact the shelf-life of baked food products.

2. Annually coordinate and conduct essential hard winter wheat projects of national importance. 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 customers which had an export value of $7.2B in 2021.

Review Publications
Guorong, Z., Martin, T., Fritz, A., Li, Y., Seabourn, B.W., Chen, Y., Bai, G., Bowden, R.L., Chen, M., Rupp, J., Jin, Y., Chen, X., Kolmer, J.A., Marshall, D.S. 2021. Registration of ‘KS Hamilton’ Hard Red Winter Wheat. Journal of Plant Registrations.
Zhang, P., Tilley, M., Bai, G., Harmer, S.E., Seabourn, B.W., Zhang, G. 2021. Effect of wheat quality traits and glutenin composition on tortilla quality from the USDA Southern Regional Performance Nursery. Cereal Chemistry. 98:1227-1237.
Hein, N.T., Impa, S.M., Wagner, D., Kumar, R., Tiwari, M., Prasad, V., Bheemanahalli, R., Tilley, M., Wu, X., Neilsen, M., Jagadish, K. 2021. Grain micronutrient composition and yield components in field-grown wheat are negatively impacted by high night-time temperature. Field Crops Research. 99(3):615-624.
Tebben, L., Chen, G., Tilley, M., Li, Y. 2022. Improvement of whole wheat dough and bread properties by emulsifiers. Grain & Oil Science and Technology. 5:59-69.