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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Morris, Minnesota » Soil Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #277495

Title: Hulled wheats: Origin, nutritional value and future prospects

item Jaradat, Abdullah

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/22/2012
Publication Date: 5/22/2012
Citation: Jaradat, A.A. 2012. Hulled wheats: Origin, nutritional value and future prospects [abstract]. Whole Grains Summit. p. B-8.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Wild and domesticated hulled (or non-free threshing) wheat species are among the most ancient cereals of the Fertile Crescent and the Mediterranean Region. They include wild emmer, the progenitor of most cultivated wheat species; wild and domesticated einkorn; and domesticated emmer and spelt wheat. As genetic resources, these wheats are recognized as sources of genes for agronomically- and nutritionally-important traits, including genes for large spike and grain size, high grain and protein yield, desirable composition of storage proteins, fiber content, macro- and micro-nutrients, vitamins, amino acid and fatty acid profiles, and flour and dough properties. Domesticated hulled wheats were widely cultivated in the ancient world; however, over time they were replaced with free-threshing wheats, except in mountainous and marginal lands in West Asia, North Africa, Ethiopia and Europe, and recently in the US and Canada as sources of health food. During the last 50 years, emmer and spelt became more popular especially among gourmet and the health conscious due to their nutritional value, flavorful taste, and as cereal food for those who suffer from gluten intolerance and celiac disease. The nutritional value is attributed mainly to high contents of fiber and antioxidant compounds, high protein digestibility and starch with high resistance to digestibility. In addition, wild and domesticated hulled wheats are rich genetic resources for the improvement of agronomic performance, biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, and nutritional quality of free-threshing cultivated wheat through classical and molecular breeding as evidenced by numerous studies. Hulled wheats can be used as sources and genetic resources for the improvement of temporal stability of grain protein, high-molecular-weight glutenins; nutrient concentrations, especially iron, selenium and zinc; and baking and pasta quality. Moreover, they are the best sources for breeding wheat potentially tolerated by celiac patients; higher amylose:amylopectin ratio to increase resistant starch content; and adaptation to low-input environments.