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Doctoral thesis2023Open access

Wheat quality under a climate spell : a focus on protein, physico-chemical and growth characteristics evaluated by innovatively combined approaches

Lama, Sbatie


The quality of bread is largely determined by the gluten protein concentration and composition, both greatly influenced by environmental factors such as heat and drought. Future climate in Sweden is expected to fluctuate severely, affecting gluten proteins and the production of bread wheat, as well as future availability of food. The thesis aimed to enhance knowledge of the effect of varying climates on the gluten
protein quality in Swedish wheat and to evaluate new methods for yield and gluten protein screening in order to assist in future wheat breeding programs. In this thesis, plant growth-yield traits and gluten protein quality in flour and dough were studied in Swedish wheat of varying genetic backgrounds and imported varieties, all grown in diverse environments in Sweden.

Red-green-blue (RGB) imaging and analytical chromatography tools, such as size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography (SE-HPLC) and mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), as well as near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) were used to study wheat plants and flour materials. A mixograph was used to prepare dough in this study. Robust flour sedimentation methods, such as swelling index of glutenins (SIG) and solvent retention capacity (SRC), were used to examine the gluten protein characteristics of wheat flour from varying growing environments and were compared to industrial flour screening methods.

The results show that the combined heat-drought stresses negatively affected biomass, yield and thousand-kernel weight (TKW) in the wheat studied. During extreme heat and prolonged drought, higher amounts of large polymeric gluten proteins (%UPP) were observed in the spring wheat flours in both field and controlled
growth environments. Total extractable gluten protein (TOTE) was higher in the wheat genotypes grown in the cool climate in the field and combined heat-drought stress in the greenhouse. No difference in optimum dough mixing time in wheat from different years was observed. Dough mixing time, together with the gluten protein parameters (%UPP and TOTE) could be promising traits for gluten stability evaluation in varying climates. RGB imaging in combination with SE-HPLC can be useful in screening stable wheat genotypes for yield and gluten quality in varying climates. A combination of robust small-scale sedimentation tests to assess wheat flour suitability for bread-making, SIG in diluted lactic acid, SRC and SE-HPLC can be effectively used for efficient screening of wheat resilient to climate change. The new set of combined methods that include plant imaging, flour sedimentation, analytical chromatography and NIR, is of the greatest interest for both breeding and breadbaking industries to evaluate wheat in a changing climate.


bread wheat; gluten polymers; drought; heat; sedimentation; SE-HPLC; mixing quality; gluten quality stability; robust screening; Brödvete; glutenpolymerer; torka; värme; sedimentering; SE-HPLC; blandningskvalitet; glutenkvalitetsstabilitet; robust screening.

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023:26ISBN: 978-91-8046-104-7, eISBN: 978-91-8046-105-4
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Food Science
    Food Engineering
    Environmental Sciences

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