Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346632

Research Project: Enhancing Breeding of Small Grains through Improved Bioinformatics

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: Wheat fructans: A potential breeding target for nutritionally improved, climate-resilient varieties

Author
item VEENSTRA, LYNN - Cornell University - New York
item Jannink, Jean-Luc
item SORRELLS, MARK - Cornell University - New York

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2017
Publication Date: 6/16/2017
Citation: Veenstra, L., Jannink, J., Sorrells, M. 2017. Wheat fructans: A potential breeding target for nutritionally improved, climate-resilient varieties. Crop Science. 57:1624-1640.

Interpretive Summary: Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a widely consumed staple crop and essential component of a healthy whole-grain diet. One component of wheat, fructans, is known to serve physiological roles in the plant and confer health benefits to humans. Fructans are a reserve carbohydrate and osmotic regulator against stresses (i.e., drought, cold temperatures, and salinity) that affect grain yield in the wheat plant. For humans, fructans are prebiotics that promote growth of healthy gut bacteria, aid in immune support, reduce colon cancer incidence, and support bone health. While cereals are the main source of fructans in the American diet, fructans are found in many other plant foods. Variation in wheat grain fructan content has been observed with several fructan quantification techniques. Given the observed variation in grain fructan content and potential physiological benefits of fructans for wheat plants and consumers, fructans are a potential breeding target for developing climate-resilient, nutritionally improved wheat varieties.

Technical Abstract: Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a widely consumed staple crop and essential component of a healthy whole-grain diet. One component of wheat, fructans, is known to serve physiological roles in the plant and confer health benefits to humans. Fructans serve as reserve carbohydrates and osmotic regulators against stresses (i.e., drought, cold temperatures, and salinity) that affect grain yield in the wheat plant. For humans, fructans are prebiotics that promote growth of healthy gut bacteria, aid in immune support, reduce colon cancer incidence, and support bone health. While cereals are the main source of fructans in the American diet, fructans are found in many other plant foods. Variation in wheat grain fructan content has been observed with several widely accepted fructan quantification techniques. Given the observed variation in grain fructan content and potential physiological benefits of fructans for wheat plants and consumers, fructans are a potential breeding target for developing climate-resilient, nutritionally improved wheat varieties.