Evaluation of genetic variation and grain quality of old bread wheat varieties introduced in north-western Italian environments

Abstract

The increasing consumers’ request for new speciality wheat derivatives and the possible widening of marketing opportunities is giving to both landraces and old varieties, new chance of on farm survival providing a low cost way to safeguard these important genetic resources. A farmer’s consortium acting in north-western Italy, is attempting the introduction of some old bread wheat landraces in marginal environments of Piedmont and Liguria regions. The reason of this attempt is the local market demand of old bread varieties suitable for the preparation of traditional cakes and biscuits. Three Italian bread wheat landraces, a mixture of durum and bread wheat landraces and three modern varieties were evaluated. The entries were cropped in Val Borbera and Val d’Aveto (Piedmont and Liguria region, respectively) in the same growing season (2009–2010). The high variation of gliadin profile detected within the landraces indicates that all have retained the genetic heterogeneity typical of the old wheat landraces. In consequence of the health-promoting effects of whole grain consumption, eleven nutritional and technological traits of whole flours were investigated. The analysis of collected data revealed appreciable differences among the flours obtained from the landraces and the modern varieties. These differences can be mainly attributed to the intensive breeding carried out on bread wheat in the last century. The results of this study suggest that the old bread wheat landraces could have good chance of survive on farm when their characteristics fulfil the requirements of local communities.

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Acknowledgments

The author wishes to thank M. Angelini and farmers of “Consorzio della Quarantina” (Genova, Italy) for providing the bread wheat samples, G. Campanella and T. Del Sole for the support during chemical analyses and O. Porfiri for the critical revision of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Angela R. Piergiovanni.

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Piergiovanni, A.R. Evaluation of genetic variation and grain quality of old bread wheat varieties introduced in north-western Italian environments. Genet Resour Crop Evol 60, 325–333 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-012-9838-2

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Keywords

  • Bread wheat
  • Genetic resources
  • Gliadins
  • Grain quality
  • Triticum aestivum