The hunt for healthier wheat starch

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office

Abstract

Wheat products such as bread, pasta and biscuits are global staple foods that people eat every day. These foods are a major source starch, and starches resistant to digestion are an important component of dietary fibre capable of delivering many health benefits.

Despite the potential health benefits resistant starches can provide, levels remain very low in wheat foods. Increasing the resistant starch content in the wheat grain is a key strategy to address this and a sustainable approach to develop healthier everyday wheat foods.

Thus, it is important to understand what makes wheat starches more or less digestible. We know that certain properties of starch like its structure and composition can influence its rate or lack of digestion. Nevertheless, finding useful starch properties in wheat is still limited due to the lack of informative, accurate and efficient phenotyping methods.

This project will focus on understanding the starch properties in wheat contributing to resistant starch. The student will utilize cutting-edge biochemical and physicochemical techniques to investigate wheat starch properties and then use this information to find useful sources of resistant starch in diverse wheat germplasm.

The student will use valuable genetic and genomic resources in wheat including collections of diverse wild wheat landraces and sequenced wheat TILLING mutants. The student will build a solid skill set in modern plant pre-breeding and trait development. The project will also provide opportunities for the student to develop new phenotyping and molecular tools for plant breeding.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2116848 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022 Petros Zafeiriou