Nutritional and quality characteristics expressed in 31 perennial wheat breeding lines

Authors: Kevin M. Murphy, Lori A. Hoagland, Philip G. Reeves, Byung-Kee Baik and Stephen S. Jones
Date: Aug 2009
Abstract: Soil erosion due to annual cropping on highly erodible farmland is a major ecological concern in the wheat growing regions of Washington State. In response to requests from farmers, the winter wheat breeding program at Washington State University has been developing perennial wheat selected from crosses between wild wheatgrass species and commonly grown annual wheat cultivars. In 2005/06, we conducted field trials of the most promising perennial wheat breeding lines derived from interspecific crosses between tall wheatgrass (Thinopyrum elongatum ) and bread wheat (Triticum aestivum ). Thirtyone perennial breeding lines and two annual winter wheat cultivars were evaluated for nutritional value in the form of grain mineral concentration, multiple baking and milling quality traits, and ease of grain threshability. The objective of this study was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of these post-harvest traits in the perennial wheat lines derived from these interspecific crosses. Mineral nutrient concentrations in the perennial lines were 44, 40, 24, 23, 32, 30 and 33% higher than the annual control cultivars for calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, respectively. The annual cultivars had a higher grain mineral content per unit area of land than the perennial lines, due primarily to the higher grain yields of the annual cultivars. Compared to the annual wheat cultivars, the perennial lines produced grain with smaller seed size, lower test weight and reduced flour yield, mix time and loaf volume. Protein content was 3.5–4.5% higher in the perennial lines than in the annual cultivars. The threshability index (TI) ranged from 0.63 to 0.89 in the perennials (m =  0.75); significantly lower than the mean TI of the annual cultivars (m =  0.97). The significant genotyper location interaction found for TI suggests that the variation in annual precipitation positively influenced some perennial lines to express greater threshability. In addition to transferring traits important to the perennial growth habit in wheat, the wild wheatgrass species also introduced beneficial characteristics (i.e. increased protein and mineral concentration) and deleterious traits (poor threshing grain and inferior baking qualities). This research gives researchers a platform from which to direct further research and selection in the development of perennial wheat.

Source: Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems: 24(4); 285–292

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Perennial Wheat: A new option for organic and sustainable farm systems

Author: Sieglinde Snapp, Steve Culman, Lee DeHann, John Green, Stephen Jones, Janet Lewis, Vicki Morrone, Dan Rossman, Martin Nagelkirk, Scott Swinton, Sienna Tinsley, Anne Weir
Affiliation: 
Michigan State University, Michigan State University Extension, The Land Institute, and Washington State University
Abstract: A new perennial crop is being explored for opportunities on organic and sustainable farms. The overall goal to grow this crop is to improve farms and protect the environment (Glover et al., 2010). Successful establishments crop requires it to be replanted only once in three years (see figure below). As a perennial crop, it provides greater soil coverage and an extensive rooting system, compared to an annual grain. These factors are the foundation for building soil in organic farming. The perennial wheat team integrates the work from plant breeders, economists, cropping systems scientists and ecologists with farmers and Extension educators to identify useful plant lines and management approaches with the greatest potential for success in a Upper Midwest organic farm systems. The team has set a goal to find stable varieties within five years, depending on plant regrowth and seed production. We are evaluating this crop for multiple uses including grain, forage and environmental services.
Source: pwheat.anr.msu.edu/upload_max_filesize=32m/2012/01/pwheat-extension-poster1.pdf