, Volume 225, Issue 6, pp 1393–1403 | Cite as

The effect of environment on endosperm cell-wall development in Triticum aestivum during grain filling: an infrared spectroscopic imaging study

  • G. A. Toole
  • R. H. Wilson
  • M. L. Parker
  • N. K. Wellner
  • T. R. Wheeler
  • P. R. Shewry
  • E. N. C. Mills
Original Article


One of the major factors contributing to the failure of new wheat varieties is seasonal variability in end-use quality. Consequently, it is important to produce varieties which are robust and stable over a range of environmental conditions. Recently developed sample preparation methods have allowed the application of FT-IR spectroscopic imaging methods to the analysis of wheat endosperm cell wall composition, allowing the spatial distribution of structural components to be determined without the limitations of conventional chemical analysis. The advantages of the methods, described in this paper, are that they determine the composition of endosperm cell walls in situ and with minimal modification during preparation. Two bread-making wheat cultivars, Spark and Rialto, were selected to determine the impact of environmental conditions on the cell-wall composition of the starchy endosperm of the developing and mature grain, focusing on the period of grain filling (starting at about 14 days after anthesis). Studies carried out over two successive seasons show that the structure of the arabinoxylans in the endosperm cell walls changes from a highly branched form to a less branched form. Furthermore, during development the rate of restructuring was faster when the plants were grown at higher temperature with restricted water availability from 14 days after anthesis with differences in the rate of restructuring occurring between the two cultivars.


Cell wall Endosperm Environment FT-IR Spectroscopic imaging Wheat 





Fourier transform infra-red


Water-extractable AX


Water-unextractable AX


Highly-branched AX


Low-branched AX


Principal components analysis



IFR and Rothamsted Research receive grant-aided support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom. This work was supported by the BBSRC Ex-Gen grants 218/EGA17713 (IFR), 4551/EGA17694 (RRes) and EGA17703 (Reading). We also thank Caroline Hadley, Laurence Hansen and Keith Chivers with the plant husbandry (PEL, Reading) and Mike Gooding (Reading University) for the grain-filling curves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Toole
    • 1
  • R. H. Wilson
    • 1
  • M. L. Parker
    • 1
  • N. K. Wellner
    • 1
  • T. R. Wheeler
    • 3
  • P. R. Shewry
    • 2
  • E. N. C. Mills
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Food ResearchNorwich Research ParkColneyUK
  2. 2.Rothamsted ResearchHertsUK
  3. 3.Plant Environment Laboratory, School of Agriculture, Policy and DevelopmentUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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