Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Assessing the Impact of Early Senescence on Grain Protein Concentration of Spring Wheat Varieties (Triticum aestivum L.).

Amy Blahnik, Santra Dipak, Koenig Richard, Shelton Gary, DeMacon Victor, and Kidwell Kimberlee. Washington State University, 204 Johnson Hall, Pullman, WA 99164, United States of America

Protein concentration has a major impact on the quality of end products made with flour extracted from wheat grain; therefore, this trait is typically a high priority in wheat improvement efforts aimed at improving bread and pasta quality.   An allele from a wild relative of wheat at locus Gpc-B1 on chromosome 6BS that increases grain protein concentration (GPC) was recently reported to be associated with early senescence. We introgressed this allele into the adapted hard red spring wheat cultivars ‘Scarlet’ and ‘Tara 2002’ via marker-assisted backcross breeding (MABB).  The objectives of this study were to: (1) assess differences in rates of plant senescence, N translocation, and N assimilation in grain among isogenic BC5F5 derivatives of Scarlet and Tara 2002 with and without the high GPC allele; and (2) compare the physiological responses conferred by this allele under irrigated and non-irrigated field production conditions. Three MABB-derived genotypes with and 3 without the high GPC allele were evaluated for each genetic background, along with the recurrent parents, in a replicated field trial in Pullman, WA in 2006. Genotypes were planted in a split-plot design with irrigation (with or without) as the main plot factor and allele composition (with or without the high GPC allele) as the subplot factor.   Chlorophyll degradation rates in flag leaves, changes in peduncle color and water content of spikes over time were collected to compare senescence rates between genotypes and treatments.  Free amino acids and total protein N levels were measured in flag leaves and developing grains to compare N translocation and assimilation rates among genotypes between treatments.  Data were used to assess the effect of the Gpc-B1 locus on GPC and end-product quality under different environmental conditions and in different genetic backgrounds.