Low viscosity wheat for improved properties for fermentation and animal feed

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Plant Biology & Crop Science


Iin BBSRC Project BB/F014295/1 we identified genes whcih are responsible for determing the soluble non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) content and extract viscosity of wheat grain. Using a GM approach to suppress the action of these genes, we produced wheat plants where NSP content and extract viscosity was lowered by 70-80%. This low-viscosity property would be highly desirable in wheat varieties for whisky and animal feed uses, however a GM approach is not possible due to regulatory costs and consummer resistance. Here we intend to start developing a low-viscosity wheat using the non-GM approach of TILLING to find versions of these genes (alleles) which are inactive. By the project end, we will have identified such alleles for all the target genes and established whether they confer the low-viscosity property and check that there are no adverse effects. Our breeding partner will then begin the process of inroducing these alleles into commercial wheat varieties.


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Description We have identified functional mutations in all three forms (homoeologues) of two target genes in hexaploid wheat.
Exploitation Route The alleles are being crossed into elite wheat breeding lines by our industrial partner. We have been awarded a new InnovateUK grant to take these forward to develop a new low viscosity wheat variety.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

Description Yes they are being used by Limagrain to try to develop a low viscosity wheat variety. We have secured a TSB grant BB/N019164/1 to demonstrate the benefits and ensure the development of a successful novel variety.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

Description Agritech Catalyst Round 4
Amount £75,783 (GBP)
Organisation Technology Strategy Board (TSB) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 02/2019
Description Collaboration with Limagrain 
Organisation Limagrain
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution we have had several meetings with Limagrain as our industrial partners and are strengthening the collaboration to try to achieve a new commercial wheat variety
Collaborator Contribution they are actively introducing our alleles into their breeding lines. They have also supplied markers for us to genotype our own lines.
Impact We have some very promising results from this collaboration and Limagrain are on course to develop a new wheat variety using our alleles, possible release date of 2024. This will be one of the first wheat varieties in the world developed using reverse genetics.
Start Year 2013
Description collaboration with Scotch Whisky Research Institute. 
Organisation Scotch Whisky Research Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution we supply grain samples from the novel wheat lines to SWRI for testing for suitability for distilling inudstry
Collaborator Contribution data on properties of wheat grain
Impact we are collaborating on agri-tech catalyst proposal
Start Year 2013