Exploiting variation in wheat land races to optimise dietary fibre content and viscosity in commercial wheats

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


Dietary fibre (DF) is an essential component of the diet with established health benefits. Soluble DF may also have unique benefits associated with its high viscosity. However, the daily intake in UK adults is substantially below recommended guidelines. Wheat is the most important source of DF in the UK, with bread providing 20% of the daily intake. Improving wheat DF is therefore an important target.
By contrast, high fibre and high viscosity are detrimental when wheat is used as feed for poultry and as raw material for alcohol production in distilling and biofuel plants.
We have identified wide variation in the amounts of total and soluble fibre in the Watkins collection of wheats which were collected across the world in the 1930s. This variation will be studied in more detail and tools developed to facilitate its exploitation to produce new wheat cultivars with improved end use properties, in collaboration with a major wheat breeder and with the Scotch Whisky Research Institute


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Description 1. Detailed analyses have been carried out on the content and composition of dietary fibre in white flour of 34 Watkins lines grown in 4 years: this has provided data on the heritable of variation in composition.
2. 10 selected lines (five with high and five with low fibre) were provided to SWRI who demonstrated differences in alcohol yield.
3. Based on these results 4 lines have been grown with commercial control lines in field trials with 2 levels of nitrogen fertilisation. This material has been provided to SWRI to confirm the observed effects on alcohol yield.for detailed comparative studies.
Exploitation Route With breeding partner and supermarkets
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare

Description Collaborators in KWS have developed high fibre breeding lines with good performance and processing quality.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink