Nutritional value of wheat for poultry: Analysis of gene effects using isogenic lines
About this project
There is increasing emphasis on wheat quality from the poultry feed industry (who are one of the major end users of UK-grown wheat); poor nutritional quality will result in reduced performance, deteriorating litter conditions and downgrading. Recent developments in plant breeding have produced cultivars which are high-yielding with increased disease resistance and suitable for the quality bread and biscuit markets.
However, little attention has been paid to nutritional quality for poultry. In fact, it is suspected that some of the characteristics which have been bred into modern wheat cultivars are associated with reduced nutritional quality. Both plant breeders and, ultimately growers, are keen to secure markets for their wheat and programmes which seek to maintain quality are accordingly of value.
The report describes a programme of work which was designed to identify the nutritional consequences of key characteristics which are present in wheat. The approach adopted was to use ' near isogenic' lines which are those where the only difference is the characteristic under consideration. Thus a 'check list' of the effects of specific characteristics can be established.
A major part of the programme concentrated on the nutritional effects of the IB/IR translocation; clear evidence has been obtained which associates this characteristic with reduced nutritional value. The benefits to the industry (grower, plant breeder, poultry feed) are that it is now common to remove this feature for feed wheat breeding programmes, so 'technology transfer' from the current programme has been successful.
Further investigations examined the effect of endosperm hardness (with soft endosperm being associated with better quality, although there were interactions with endosperm texture) and the VPM eyespot resistance gene (no effect); degree of waxiness, presence of high molecular weight glutenins and grain colour have all been associated with changes to nutritional value.
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