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Improving spelt agronomy and quality

 

Spelt (T. aestivum ssp. spelta) is an old hulled wheat currently receiving renewed interest of consumers, bakers, millers, and farmers. Research is necessary to facilitate a production chain with a satisfactory reward for producers and a final product of high quality.

In the March-April issue of Crop Science, researchers report on a study with 30 spelt varieties assessing the genetic variability and heritability of a large number of agronomic and quality traits together with the flavor and odor of breads. Knowledge about correlations among these traits allow important conclusions for spelt breeding targeting improved yield and quality.

Bread loaves

The team concluded that a good estimation for protein quality is the sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDSS) method. They also determined significant genetic variation for bread flavor with a heritability of 0.56. Flavor was not correlated with protein quality, yield, or other agronomic traits.

Consequently, future breeding can simultaneously target improved yield, bread-making quality and a more aromatic flavor of new spelt varieties. These findings should encourage for an intensified interdisciplinary research to develop faster methods for flavor and odor evaluation of breads and to enlarge this research to other bread cereals, like bread wheat and rye.

Read the full article in Crop Science. Free preview March 6 - March 13