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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » WHGQ » Research » Research Project #442979

Research Project: Preventing Low Falling Numbers in Washington Wheat through Preharvest Sprouting and LMA Tolerance.

Location: Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research

Project Number: 2090-21000-033-029-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 30, 2022
End Date: May 31, 2027

Objective:
The ARS and COOPERATOR are collaborating to reduce the risk of financial losses due to low falling number (LFN) for Washington and U.S. wheat farmers through the following specific objectives: 1. Identify varieties with stable FN by performing enzyme assays, FN tests, and statistical analyses of variety trials in environments with PHS- and/or LMA-inducing weather; 2. Develop breeder-friendly selection methods for tolerance; 3. Identify and develop molecular markers linked to LMA and PHS tolerance in wheat; 4. Raise antibodies to wheat alpha-amylases and develop an ELISA assay as a proxy for falling numbers.

Approach:
The falling numbers (FN) method is used by the wheat industry to detect grain containing the starch degrading enzyme alpha-amylase that causes risk of poor end-product quality. Low FN due to high alpha-amylase is caused by the cold-induced developmental defect called late maturity alpha-amylase (LMA) or preharvest sprouting (PHS), the germination of grain on the mother plant when rain occurs before harvest. Separate programs are needed to breed for resistance to the two problems. 1. Identify varieties with stable FN by performing enzyme assays, FN tests, and statistical analyses of variety trials in environments with PHS- and/or LMA-inducing weather. The COOPERATOR will provide samples from the Washington State University multilocational trials for testing. ARS and the COOPERATOR will perform testing. ARS will compare cultivars for FN stability and to determine heritability. The COOPERATOR will make the information available through the WSU small grains website. 2. The COOPERATOR will provide ARS with access to lines from the WSU variety trials. The ARS will analyze LMA and PHS tolerance in those lines using previously developed and new methods. The ARS and COOPERATOR will compare the ability of those screening methods to predict field FN. 3. The COOPERATOR will provide germplasm, perform crosses, genotype progeny, and grow material in the field for development of near-isogenic lines for LMA and mapping populations for LMA and PHS. The ARS and COOPERATOR will evaluate LMA and PHS tolerance and perform selections. The ARS and COOPERATOR will map molecular markers in these lines. 4. The COOPERATOR will provide access to existing TaAmy1 monoclonal antibodies to alpha-amylase and to field samples with LMA and PHS for evaluating FN and alpha-amylase expression. ARS will evaluate samples for FN and alpha-amylase enzyme activity. ARS will raise monoclonal antibodies specific to TaAmy2 and TaAmy4. The COOPERATOR will evaluate those antibodies for specificity and examine TaAmy protein expression during PHS and LMA.