Influence of soft kernel texture on the flour and baking quality of durum wheat
J. MURRAY (1), A. Kiszonas (2), C. Morris (2) (1) Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, Pullman, WA, U.S.A.; (2) USDA WWQL, Pullman, WA, U.S.A..

Durum wheat is predominantly grown in semi-arid to arid environments where common wheat does not flourish, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Mediterranean Basin, and portions of North America. Durum kernels are extraordinarily hard when compared to their common wheat counterparts. Due to this extreme level of kernel hardness, durum is primarily milled on specialized mills into semolina; a coarse granular product utilized in pasta and couscous. Semolina is not nearly as versatile as flour, thus limiting the variety of products which can be produced locally in regions durum growing regions. Via non-GMO homoeologous recombination, the puroindoline genes responsible for kernel softness in common wheat were introduced to durum. The subsequent soft kernel phenotype expression has allowed durum to be milled into flour and the utilization of durum wheat to be greatly expanded. Soft durum wheat does not fall into any of the commonly utilized U.S. wheat marketing classes; making it effectively a new classification in itself. The objective of this study was to evaluate the flour components, rheological properties, and baking quality of the new soft durum wheat class. Several check varieties were included: Xerpha, a soft white wheat, Expresso, a hard spring wheat, and Svevo, a hard durum wheat. These check varieties were used to make preliminary comparisons between soft durum and established wheat classes. Soft durum wheat exhibits a unique set of flour and baking attributes which tend to fall between those of soft and hard hexaploid flour, which allow it to be utilized in a wide variety of products traditionally made with durum semolina as well as flour. In the near future soft durum wheat may have a profound impact on the food supply chain in regions such as North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean Basin.

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