SLU news

Organic wheat with high nutritional value and good baking quality

Published: 24 April 2012

A recent SLU-study shows the possibility to breed wheat with high nutritional value and excellent baking quality, suitable for organic farming. Mineral and protein content were analysed for a number of wheat varieties.

In his thesis Abrar Hussain analysed a large collection of genotypes from organically grown wheat with different origins. Analyses have been made on a number of nutritionally relevant compounds such as minerals, heavy metals, vitamin E and protein quality for baking. The variations in mineral, heavy metal, vitamin E and protein content were substantial. This indicates that there is a potential to produce organic wheat with high nutritional value and good baking quality by breeding on the genotypes that are promising in organic cropping systems.

He also estimated that organic wheat can account for about 70 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for most minerals and 24 percent of the RDA for vitamin E.

Primitive wheat (“Einkorn” and “Emmer”) had a greater content of nutritionally important minerals, and a smaller amount of cadmium in the grain than the other genotype groups. He also found that organically produced wheat showed higher levels of most minerals compared with previous studies conducted in conventionally produced wheat. This suggests that organic farming with appropriate genotypes can improve the mineral content of wheat.

The studied wheat genotypes also showed large variations in protein quality, behaviour in dough mixture and structural characteristics that indicate differences in bread quality.

Knowledge gained from this study will contribute to the selection of genotypes for further breeding of organic wheat with high nutritional value and good baking quality.