High-yielding tritical for making bread

Work in progress at the University of Sydney"s breeding program at Cobbitty aims to produce bread-quality, high-yielding triticale varieties suitable for acid soil conditions. The university"s team plans to focus on producing hybrid varieties with the potential to boost current yields.

Cooperation between the University of Sydney and Oregon State University in the US promises a bread-quality triticale with the potential to lift yields as much as 30 per cent. Seed of the American triticale variety Valdy has been imported and included in the breeding program at Cobbitty. The program has already produced a number of high-yielding triticale varieties and Dr Norman Darvey, who is leading the work, says that this line will be used to produce high bread-quality cultivars.

Data from the US suggests that Presto-Valdy, which carries the high molecular weight glutenins from bread wheat (genes responsible for dough strength), compares favourably with Hard Red Winter Wheat varieties in the US.

AT574, a triticale line bred by the University of Sydney, this year topped the NSW Department of Primary Industries mixed cereal trials. Across six trial sites it averaged 113.94 per cent in comparison to the benchmark dual-purpose triticale JackieA at 100 per cent with the recognised dual-purpose wheat varieties MarombiA and MackellarA returning 101.41 and 100.56 per cent respectively.

"This line should be available to growers in 2007," Dr Darvey says. "There"s ample evidence that hybrid varieties could further lift yield by as much as 30 per cent. And our team has already developed both the maintainer lines and the fertility restoration lines which will be used in future work. We also are developing dwarf lines which we believe may have the potential to boost yield."

The work is currently funded by the GRDC and managed by the Value Added Wheat CRC. To speed up the development of bread-making triticales, the university is looking for a commercial partner. When pushed to explain why anyone should divert funding from wheat breeding programs, Dr Darvey has a one-word answer: "Yield."

The Plant Breeding Institute plans to use the doubled haploid breeding technique, with the new lines aimed at producing a large number of individual lines, with the breadmaking qualities fixed in one generation.

"Fortunately there are similar genetic markers associated with dough strength in wheat and triticale," Dr Darvey says. "And we"ll be able to rapidly identify the lines carrying the necessary dough strength qualities. Then our selection will concentrate on selection for other parameters, especially yield and disease resistance. The goal of this project is to produce white-grained varieties capable of producing quality breads for industry."

GRDC Research Code CWQ00011
For more information: Dr Norman Darvey, 02 9351 8828, darveyn@camden.usyd.edu.au