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Wheat grain preharvest sprouting and late maturity alpha-amylase

Mares, Daryl J., Mrva, Kolumbina
Planta 2014 v.240 no.6 pp. 1167-1178
alpha-amylase, breeding, environmental factors, falling number, grain quality, ripening, seed development, sprouting, viability, wheat
Preharvest sprouting (PHS) and late maturity α-amylase (LMA) are the two major causes of unacceptably high levels of α-amylase in ripe wheat grain. High α-amylase activity in harvested grain results in substantially lower prices for wheat growers and at least in the case of PHS, is associated with adverse effects on the quality of a range of end-products and loss of viability during storage. The high levels of α-amylase are reflected in low falling number, the internationally accepted measure for grain receival and trade. Given the significant losses that can occur, elimination of these defects remains a major focus for wheat breeding programs in many parts of the world. In addition, the genetic, biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in the control of PHS and LMA as well as the interactions with environmental factors have attracted a sustained research interest. PHS and LMA are independent, genetically controlled traits that are strongly influenced by the environment, where the effects of particular environmental factors vary substantially depending on the stage of grain development and ripening. This review is a summary and an assessment of results of recent research on these important grain quality defects.