Sustainability of UK-grown wheat for breadmaking


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 October 2009 - 30 September 2012
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:
P. R. Shewry, Rothamsted Research


pr521-abstract-and-summary pr521-final-project-report

About this project


The project aimed to establish how the interaction of genetic and environmental factors affect protein deposition during grain development and, in particular, to compare varieties which show grain protein deviation (GPD) with varieties which do not.  It included comparisons of the protein content and composition of varieties under different growing seasons, locations and nitrogen (N) inputs; analysis of the gluten protein subunit and glutenin polymer profiles in relation to the dough mixing properties and breadmaking performance, and the identification of gene transcripts which are associated with the stability of wheat quality under reduced nitrogen inputs. Such tools will facilitate the development of new varieties that have high N-use efficiency and consistently good breadmaking quality.


The project focused on six varieties (Cordiale, Istabraq, Hereward, Malacca, Marksman and Xi19). Material was grown at multiple sites (Rothamsted in 2009, 2010 and 2011; RAGT, Limagrain, Syngenta and KWS in 2010 and 2011) and analysed for nitrogen, protein composition and processing quality, including milling and baking tests performed in four independent laboratories (Campden BRI, Warburtons, Premier Foods and Allied Technical Centre (ATC)). In addition, developing grain was harvested from the Rothamsted (2009, 2010 and 2011) and RAGT (2010 and 2011) sites at 21 days after anthesis (mid-grain filling) to measure gene expression using Affymetrix wheat microarrays.


Wheat yields and grain %N were responsive to N application at most sites, although little GPD was observed in 2011. An inverse relationship between yield and grain %N was consistent in all trials. Transcriptome data for N-responsive genes were compared for 2009 and 2010 (Rothamsted site). This showed that the same set of genes responded to N in the two years, but that the response was greater in 2010. Further transcriptome data were collected in 2011 for the plots receiving 200 kg/ha N at Rothamsted and RAGT. 159 significantly N-responsive genes were identified.


A detailed analysis of gluten protein gene expression was undertaken. For both 2009 and 2010, gliadin genes were responsive to N-application. A previously uncharacterised γ-gliadin gene was identified as strongly N-responsive. Amino acid sequences for this γ-gliadin from different wheat sources were compared and expression patterns across the six varieties analysed. The patterns of expression of monomeric and polymeric gluten proteins in all varieties at all N-levels were analysed by SDS-PAGE and SE-HPLC, respectively. Functionality testing was performed at Campden BRI and breadmaking at Campden BRI, Warburtons, Premier Foods and ATC.


All datasets were subject to multivariate data analysis, which allowed us to identify key parameters that predicted baking performance. In particular, specific genes were identified as related to GPD.

HGCA Project Number: 3409