The University of Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation Director Professor Robert Henry said his team discovered a glue-like gene that holds the wheat grain together could hold the secret for yielding more, and healthier flour from wheat.
The discovery of genes that determine the yield of flour from wheat could increase milling yield, boosting food security and producing a healthier flour. University of Queensland researchers believe the discovery could increase the amount of flour produced from wheat by as much as 10 percent. Wheat - the leading temperate climate crop - provides 20 percent of the total calories and proteins consumed worldwide.
UQ Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation Director Professor Robert Henry said his research team had pinpointed the genes that control a cell protein which acts like a glue, holding the wheat grain’s endosperm, wheat germ, and bran layers together. “Wheats that produce less of this glue-like protein come apart more easily in the milling process, This increases the efficiency of processing and improves the nutritional profile of the flour as more of the outer parts of the endosperm - rich in vitamins and minerals - are incorporated into the flour. This applies not only to white flour but also to wholemeal flour. Potentially we can take high-yielding field wheats that have not traditionally been considered suitable for milling, and turn them into milling wheats.This will improve on-farm production and reduce post-harvest wastage and a number of resources used to grow the wheat.And, by getting a few percent more flour from the 700 million tons of wheat produced globally each year, we will be producing significantly more food from the same amount of wheat,” he said.
“The effect of this cell adhesion protein explains the difference between wheats that give us 70 percent flour when we mill it, to 80 percent, which is quite a big difference.”Professor Henry told. The team is now looking at DNA testing to breed wheats based on this new molecular discovery. Their findings are published in Scientific Reports.