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Team seeks to evaluate wheat protein quality


May 11, 2011
By Canadian Pizza

May 11, 2011, Guelph, ON – The wheat industry value chain may soon have a new technique to efficiently determine and classify wheat protein quality.

Current wheat quality tests are lacking information on gluten development and classification of gluten protein quality between varieties, types and growing season. It is common to expect year-to-year variations in protein quality, but there is a need to find a simple process for measuring the actual change. With $227,004 in funding from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), the Ontario Cereal Industry Research Council (OCIRC) is leading a project to find a solution to the issue.

Protein quality is very important to chefs, as it determines the functionality of dough. High protein strength is necessary for bread making and lesser protein strength is needed for the flour used in cookies, crackers and flat breads.

Dr. Koushik Seetharaman, an associate professor and cereals chair at the University of Guelph, and his research team have conducted preliminary studies and documented that differences in protein quality can be detected by using a new analytical tool: the Gluten Peak Tester (GPT). With the funding from CAAP, Dr. Seetharaman will complete further validation work and relate the GPT parameters to end use quality parameters.

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“The availability of such an analytical tool will greatly benefit players from across the value chain,” says OCIRC president, Louise Jacques-O’Hare. “It will help breeders select varieties for good protein quality, millers as they blend flours, and processors, who will verify the flour quality before it is used in the end product for consumers.”