Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Genetic variation for quality traits in synthetic wheat germplasm

Daryl Mares A B and Kolumbina Mrva A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 59(5) 406-412
Submitted: 14 June 2007  Accepted: 29 November 2007   Published: 12 May 2008


Synthetic hexaploid wheats offer breeders ready access to potentially novel genetic variation associated with the D genome of Aegilops tauschii. In order to assess the application of this germplasm to wheat quality improvement, collections of primary and derived synthetic hexaploid wheat lines were surveyed for traits that determine colour and colour stability in Asian noodles and the frequency of a genetic defect know as late maturity α-amylase (LMA). The range of variation was then compared with bread wheat and durum wheat cultivar collections. Primary synthetics contained substantial genetic variation for quality traits associated with colour and colour stability of Asian noodles including near-zero extremes for polyphenol oxidase and lipoxygenase. These extremes represent a significant advantage compared with current bread wheat cultivars and are similar to the best durum wheats. While alternative strategies for reducing polyphenol oxidase and lipoxygenase are available, the synthetics nevertheless provide a useful resource for wheat breeders attempting to develop improved wheat cultivars for the Asian noodle market. Unfortunately, however, most primary synthetics were prone to late maturity α-amylase and mature grain contained unacceptably high levels of α-amylase. Elimination of this genetic defect, or selection within breeding populations for low or non-LMA, is both time consuming and labour intensive and presents a significant obstacle to exploitation of variation for other traits. As proof of concept, near-zero polyphenol oxidase (PPO) lines, free from LMA, were recovered from backcross populations involving a high LMA primary synthetic.

Additional keywords: flavonoid content, lipoxygenase, polyphenol oxidase, late maturity α-amylase.


The authors acknowledge the support of the Grains Research and Development Corporation.


Anthon GE, Barrett DM (2001) Colorimetric method for the determination of lipoxygenase activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 49, 32–37.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Asenstorfer RE, Wang Y, Mares DJ (2006) Chemical structure of flavonoid compounds in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) flour that contribute to the yellow colour of Asian alkaline noodles. Journal of Cereal Science 43, 108–119.
CrossRef |

Bernier A-M, Howes NK (1994) Quantification of variation in tyrosinase activity among durum and common wheat cultivars. Journal of Cereal Science 19, 157–159.
CrossRef |

Gale MD , Flintham JE , Mares DJ (1990) Application of molecular and biochemical markers in breeding for low alpha-amylase wheats. In ‘Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Preharvest Sprouting in Cereals’. (Eds K Ringlund, E Mosleth, DJ Mares) pp. 167–175. (Westview Press Inc.: Boulder, CO)

Gale MD , Salter AM , Lenton JR (1987) The induction of germination alpha-amylase during wheat grain development in unfavourable weather conditions. In ‘Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Pre-Harvest Sprouting in Cereals’. (Ed. DJ Mares) pp. 273–282. (Westview Press Inc.: Boulder, CO)

Hessler TG, Thomson MJ, Benscher D, Nachit MM, Sorrells ME (2002) Association of a lipoxygenase locus, Lpx-B1, with variation in lipoxygenase activity in durum wheat seeds. Crop Science 42, 1695–1700.

Leach RC , Mares DJ (2004) Quantitative trait locus associated with lipoxygenase activity in bread wheats: a tool to improve the marketability of Australian bread wheat. In ‘Cereals 2004, Proceedings of the 53rd Australian Cereal Chemistry Conference’. (Eds CK Black, JF Panozzo, GJ Rebetzke) pp. 130–133. (Cereal Chemistry Division, RACI: North Melbourne, Vic.)

Mares DJ, Campbell AW (2001) Mapping components of flour and noodle colour in Australian wheat. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 52, 1297–1309.
CrossRef |

Mares DJ , Gale MD (1990) Control of α-amylase synthesis in wheat grains. In ‘Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Pre-Harvest Sprouting in Cereals’. (Eds K Ringlund, E Mosleth, DJ Mares) pp. 183–194. (Westview Press Inc.: Boulder, CO)

Mares DJ , Wang Y , Cassidy CA (1997) Separation, identification and tissue location of compounds responsible for the yellow colour of alkaline noodles. In ‘Cereals 97, Proceedings of the 47th Cereal Chemistry Conference’. (Eds AW Tarr, AS Ross, CW Wrigley) pp. 114–117. (Cereal Chemistry Division, RACI: North Melbourne, Vic.)

Mrva K, Mares DJ (1996a) Inheritance of late maturity α-amylase in wheat. Euphytica 88, 61–67.
CrossRef |

Mrva K, Mares DJ (1996b) Expression of late maturity α-amylase in wheat containing gibberellic acid insensitivity genes. Euphytica 88, 68–76.

Mrva K, Mares DJ (2001a) Induction of late maturity α-amylase in wheat by cool temperature. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 52, 477–484.
CrossRef |

Mrva K, Mares DJ (2001b) Quantitative trait locus analysis of late maturity α-amylase in wheat using the doubled haploid population Cranbrook × Halberd. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 52, 1267–1273.
CrossRef |

Mrva K , Mares DJ , Williams KJ , Cheong J (2004) Molecular markers associated with late maturity α-amylase (LMA) in wheat. In ‘Proceedings of the 53rd Australian Cereal Chemistry Conference’. (Eds CK Black, JF Panozzo, GJ Rebetzke) pp. 150–151. (Cereal Chemistry Division, RACI: North Melbourne, Vic.)

Mrva K, Wallwork M, Mares DJ (2006) α-Amylase and programmed cell death in aleurone of ripening wheat grains. Journal of Experimental Botany 57, 877–885.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Sun DJ, He ZH, Xia XC, Zhang LP, Morris CF, Appels R, Ma WJ, Wang H (2005) A novel STS marker for polyphenol oxidase activity in bread wheat. Molecular Breeding 16, 209–218.
CrossRef |

Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (16)