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Cultivated emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccon Schrank), an old crop with promising future: a review

  • Notes on Neglected and Underutilized Crops
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Abstract

Cultivated emmer wheat, Triticum dicoccon Schrank, a tetraploid species with hulled grain, has been largely cultivated during seven millennia in the Middle-East, Central and West Asia, and Europe. It has been largely replaced by hulless species and is now a minor crop, with the exception of some countries like India, Ethiopia and Yemen, where its grain is used for preparing traditional foods. Nutritional qualities and specific taste and flavor of emmer wheat products have led to a recent development of the cultivation in some European countries. Emmer wheat also possesses valuable traits of resistance to pests and diseases and tolerance to abiotic stresses and is increasingly used as a reservoir of useful genes in wheat breeding. In the present article, a review concerning taxonomy, diversity and history of cultivation of emmer wheat is reported. Grain characteristics and valuable agronomic traits are described. Some successful examples of emmer wheat utilization for the development of durum or bread wheat cultivars are examined, and the perspectives in using emmer wheat as health food and for the development of new breeding germplasm are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

Thanks are due to Glenn Hyman (CIAT, Colombia) and Alvaro Venegas Larios for their assistance in carrying out the map and photographs, respectively, and to Marilyn Warburton (USDA) for her helpful comments on the manuscript.

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Zaharieva, M., Ayana, N.G., Hakimi, A.A. et al. Cultivated emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccon Schrank), an old crop with promising future: a review. Genet Resour Crop Evol 57, 937–962 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-010-9572-6

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