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Spatial Patterns of Gluten Protein and Polymer Distribution in Wheat Grain

He, Jibin, Penson, Simon, Powers, Stephen J., Hawes, Chris, Shewry, Peter R., Tosi, Paola
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2013 v.61 no.26 pp. 6207-6215
cultivars, endosperm, flour, gliadin, gluten, livestock feeds, nitrogen, prolamins
The starchy endosperm is the major storage tissue in the mature wheat grain and exhibits quantitative and qualitative gradients in composition, with the outermost cell layers being rich in protein, mainly gliadins, and the inner cells being low in protein but enriched in high-molecular-weight (HMW) subunits of glutenin. We have used sequential pearling to produce flour fractions enriched in particular cell layers to determine the protein gradients in four different cultivars grown at two nitrogen levels. The results show that the steepness of the protein gradient is determined by both genetic and nutritional factors, with three high-protein breadmaking cultivars being more responsive to the N treatment than a low-protein cultivar suitable for livestock feed. Nitrogen also affected the relative abundances of the three main classes of wheat prolamins: the sulfur-poor ω-gliadins showed the greatest response to nitrogen and increased evenly across the grain; the HMW subunits also increased in response to nitrogen but proportionally more in the outer layers of the starchy endosperm than near the core, while the sulfur-rich prolamins showed the opposite trend.