A new cereal crop, tritordeum, has been developed from the hybridization of pasta wheat and a wild barley species. The target of this challenge is to develop a strategy and technology for the screening of tritordeum germplasm to characterize the variability available in characters of interest and to identify traits which could be developed within the tritordeum breeding programme. The focus of the screening should be on constituents related with nutrition and health
Details of the Technology Call
A new cereal crop, tritordeum, has been developed from the hybridization of pasta wheat and a wild barley species (Hordeum chilense).
With our challenge we are looking for an approach and appropriate technology for screening tritordeum germplasm (a collection of breeding lines) to identify components of nutritional or health relevance. The outcome we look for is the identification of variability in characters present in tritordeum which offer potential for the development of functional food products.
An important aspect is the identity or level of these components should differ from those already present in conventional cereals. For example, tritordeum contains lutein as its major carotenoid antioxidant. Lutein is also the major carotenoid in bread wheat, but is present at a 10-fold higher level in tritordeum which gives the opportunity to develop innovative products which are clearly differentiated from wheat products at the level of lutein content and functionality.
The new cereal resembles bread wheat and its agronomic performance and yield is similar to wheat. However, a number of properties have been identified which offer the possibility of developing new functional food products. Among the properties currently identified are included exceptionally high levels of the antioxidant carotenoid lutein which is strongly implicated in eye health, high levels of soluble fibre, high protein, microelements, variant starch types, etc.
These properties of interest have been identified from the analysis of a limited number of elite lines of tritordeum which have been selected on the basis of having food processing qualities suiting them for specific food applications (e.g. bread, biscuit etc).
The tritordeum lines which have been tested, however, represent only a small fraction of the germplasm (pool of breeding lines) of the cereal which in total numbers some 250+ lines derived from crosses between different parental genotypes. This collection offers a breadth of genetic diversity far exceeding that present in the breeding pool of conventional cereals (whose genetic variability has been reduced during the thousands of years of selection and breeding following the early domestication of these crops.