Analysis of grain composition in Canadian ancestral and present wheat varieties
Ravindra Chibba Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 2015 Vol. 40, p506
Cereal grains are a rich source of nutrition in human diet. Maize, rice and
wheat are the three leading cereal grains around the world. Wheat
(Triticum aestivum L.) is a staple food in the human diet around the world. In a
wheat grain, carbohydrates are the predominant (two-thirds to threequarters)
storage compound followed by proteins accounting for onefifth
to one-sixth of grain weight. Other minor components include
phenolic compounds in bran, fats, vitamins and minerals that also contribute
to the quality of wheat-based food products and human health.
The majority of wheat grain proteins include glutenin and gliadin subunits
that form the gluten complex in dough, essential for making baked
products such as bread.
In the last few years, it has been suggested that
grain products made from wheat varieties developed during the last
decades contribute towards increased incidences of obesity, diabetes and
other lifestyle related health conditions in our society. According to a
claim, a higher grain protein content primarily provided by the gluten
components is the main cause of the negative health effects attributed to
consumption of wheat grain based products. Canada Western Red Spring
(CWRS) wheat is the predominant market class, whose grain is mostly
used for leavened bread products. To address some of the claims attributed
to modern wheat varieties, we analyzed the grain composition of
37 CWRS wheat varieties dating from 1860 (Red Fife) to present varieties
grown in a replicated trial at the University of Saskatchewan field plots in
Saskatoon during 2013 and 2014 growing seasons.
The total starch concentration varied from 52% to 67%, while the total protein concentration
ranged from 11% to 14%. The total polymeric protein concentration in the
grain proteins varied from 55% to 65%. Analyses of the glutenin and
gliadin subunits by denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDSPAGE)
also revealed no pattern of accumulation of specific glutenin and
gliadin subunits in present day versus heritage wheat varieties. The grain
from the 2014 harvest is currently being analyzed.
In conclusion, preliminary results show that the grain composition (total starch, protein and
minor components concentration) of modern day varieties is similar to
that of heritage wheat varieties that were grown in Canada during the
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