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Mechanical and physicochemical characterization of vitreous and mealy durum wheat endosperm

Samson, M.F., Mabille, F., Cheret, R., Abecassis, J., Morel, M.H.
Cereal chemistry 2005 v.82 no.1 pp. 81-87
Triticum turgidum subsp. durum, durum wheat, food analysis, mechanical properties, physicochemical properties, endosperm, cultivars, nitrogen fertilizers, fertilizer application, crop production, texture, density, protein content, protein composition, gliadin, high performance liquid chromatography, hardness, genotype, glutenins, food composition
The mechanical, physical, and biochemical characteristics of mealy and vitreous endosperm were investigated. Endosperm were obtained from four durum wheat cultivars grown under different nitrogen fertilization designs. The textural properties and the density of the endosperm were measured on hand-shaped parallelepiped endosperm samples. Endosperm protein content and composition and also gliadin composition were investigated by HPLC. Mechanical tests showed that mealy and vitreous endosperm differed in hardness and vitreousness. Vitreousness increased with nitrogen fertilization supply whereas there was no variation among the different cultivars. Hardness seemed to be linked to genotype and insensitive to nitrogen supply. From this result, we concluded that hardness and vitreousness are not related. Endosperm protein content and gliadin-to-glutenin ratio were related to nitrogen supply and increased especially when nitrogen supply was applied at flowering. At the same time, endosperm vitreousness increased. Further biochemical analyses were performed on 270 kernels, mealy or vitreous, hand-picked from 148 different crops. Results showed that protein content of vitreous endosperm exceeded 9.7% in >90% of the cases. The glia/glu ratio was a less accurate predictor of kernel vitreousness, indicating that, by itself, it cannot account for the change in kernel vitreousness. Endosperm vitreous texture would rise above a threshold content of 9.7% protein within the endosperm.