Stay slim wheat

Wheat to make bread for the diet-conscious is the target of a novel research program assisted by growers through the GRDC. Plant breeder Fred Stoddard from Sydney University said that a wild wheat from the Middle East and two old Australian cultivars with 'slimming characteristics' are being crossed with current domestic wheat varieties.

It's all in the starch

Cereals such as maize, barley and wheat contain two types of starch — amylopectin, which is rapidly digested and enables animals and humans to put on weight quickly, and amylose, which is much more slowly digested and makes people feel fuller, longer.

"What we are trying to do is develop a high-amylose, "weight-loss' wheat, using wild wheats from the Middle East and elsewhere that are naturally higher in amylose." said Dr Stoddard.

He said project scientists had isolated a wild wheat with about 35 per cent amylose and two old Australian varieties with similar starch composition. A high amylose experimental bread-wheat line may be available in five or six years.

Another part of the program is genetically manipulating wheat to increase the amylopectin starch content of grain — providing other options for the human food and the feed grain markets.