Wheat variety identification

Wednesday 27 June 2007

Reliable identification of the wheat variety is paramount for flour milling and related industries - to help ensure that supplied grain is suitable for the intended end-use.

Research at CCFRA, funded by nabim, has established a standardised method for varietal discrimination. Its simplicity and total analysis time of less than 50 minutes enhance its suitability for use in mill intake laboratories, enabling millers to make more confident decisions in accepting grain consignments.

Traditionally, wheat varieties are identified by protein profiling of the grain using the technique of acid-PAGE (polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis). While this is widely used in analytical laboratories, including CCFRA, it is unsuitable for use at mill intake: it is time-consuming, requires highly skilled operators to prepare, run and interpret the gels, and requires use of hazardous materials. We therefore explored the Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100 LabChip® Protein Assay system with Phoretix computerised pattern recognition software, to provide a reliable but easier and more rapid approach to wheat protein profiling.

The system produces well resolved protein profiles suitable for varietal discrimination, and its wider use as an effective policing tool within the grain industry is being encouraged.

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