Historical changes in the contents and compositions of fibre components and polar metabolites in white wheat flour

Alison Lovegrove, Till Pellny, Kirsty Hassal, Amy Plummer, Abigail Wood, Alice Bellisai, A M Przewieslik-Allen, Amanda J Burridge, Jane Ward, Peter Shewry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Thirty-nine UK adapted wheat cultivars dating from between 1790 and 2012 were grown in replicated randomised field trials for three years, milled, and white flour analysed for the contents of dietary fibre components (arabinoxylan and β-glucan) and polar metabolites (sugars, amino acids, organic acids, choline and betaine) to determine whether the composition had changed due to the effects of intensive breeding. The concentrations of components varied between study years, indicating strong effects of environment. Nevertheless, some trends were observed, with the concentrations of arabinoxylan fibre and soluble sugars (notably sucrose, maltose and fructose) increasing and most amino acids (including asparagine which is the precursor of acrylamide formed during processing) decreasing between the older and newer types. The concentration of betaine, which is beneficial for cardio-vascular health, also increased. The study therefore provided no evidence for adverse effects of intensive breeding on the contents of beneficial components in wheat flour.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020

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