Polymerisation of gluten proteins in developing wheat grain as affected by desiccation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Cereal Science. 2017, 73 122-129. 10.1016/j.jcs.2016.12.003
The breadmaking quality of wheat is affected by the composition of gluten proteins and the polymerisation of subunits that are synthesised and accumulated in developing wheat grain. The biological mechanisms and time course of these events during grain development are documented, but not widely confirmed. Therefore, the aim of this study was to monitor the accumulation of gluten protein subunits and the size distribution of protein aggregates during grain development. The effect of desiccation on the polymerisation of gluten proteins and the functional properties of gluten were also studied. The results showed that the size of glutenin polymers remained consistently low until yellow ripeness (YR), while it increased during grain desiccation after YR. Hence, this polymerisation process was presumed to be initiated by desiccation. A similar polymerisation event was also observed when premature grains were dried artificially. The composition of gluten proteins, the ratios of glutenin to gliadin and high molecular weight-glutenin subunits to low molecular weight-glutenin subunits, in premature grain after artificial desiccation showed close association with the size of glutenin polymers in artificially dried grain. Functional properties of gluten in these samples were also associated with polymer size after artificial desiccation.