Cereal seed composition and end use quality

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Unlisted


Cereals are the major arable crops in the UK and provide food, feed and raw materials for industry. Different end uses require different composition in terms of the amounts and compositions of the major grain components: starch, protein and cell wall polysaccharides. This project therefore uses a range of approaches (including metabolomics, transcriptomics and transgenesis) to dissect the pathways and mechanisms that determine cereal grain composition and to exploit this information to tailor the composition for traditional and novel end use requirements.
Specific targets are:-
1. Manipulating the amounts and composition of wheat endosperm cell walls for health (dietary fibre), feed and processing (distilling, biofuels).
2. Understanding the mechanisms by which proteins determine grain mechanical and functional properties.
3. Manipulating the patterns of gene expression and pathways of protein trafficking and deposition to develop novel wheats with improved processing properties.


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Description Identified key genes encoding enzymes of arabinoxylan synthesis in wheat and demonstrated their functions and effects on AX structure and amount by transgenesis
Identified beta-glucan synthase genes in wheat and demonstrated effects on glucan structure and size by transgenesis
Identified genetic sources of high arabinoxylan fibre in wheat for exploitation in breeding
Exploitation Route Projects have been developed with plant breeders to develop high and low fibre wheat for human health and biofuels/distilling, respectively
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink