Labs Play Key Role in Developing Tomorrow's Wheats
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
May 11, 1999
Linda McGraw, (309) 681-6530, email@example.com
When sixth-graders tour the Soft Wheat Quality Laboratory of the
Agricultural Research Service in Wooster, Ohio, food technologist Charles S.
Gaines tells them he's working on wheat flour that may be used in their
wedding cakes. That's because it takes 8 to 14 years to breed a new
commercial wheat variety. ARS is the USDA's chief scientific agency.
Before growers receive a new wheat variety, ARS researchers at four wheat
quality laboratories have thoroughly analyzed thousands of experimental
breeding lines from federal, state, and private sources. Out of 2,000
samples, only one or two may eventually become commercial varieties.
The scientists at all four ARS quality labs evaluate how each wheat line or
variety performs in milling and baking trials so breeders can make the best
choices. When breeders are really serious about a wheat variety and are
close to releasing it, the ARS quality laboratory personnel perform the
final test: they bake bread and cookies and make noodles and spaghetti.
Sometimes breeders can't supply enough flour samples from their experimental
lines to perform adequate baking tests. So ARS baker Margo S. Caley at the
Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory in Manhattan, Kan., devised
thimble-sized baking pans that hold tiny bread loaves. The small loaves
require only two tablespoons of flour.
ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory researchers in Pullman, Wash., are
conducting the biggest research effort on waxy wheat in North America
through a cooperative research and development agreement with a major food
company. Starch from waxy wheat absorbs and retains more water than does
ARS researchers at the Hard Red Spring and Durum Wheat Quality Laboratory in
Fargo, N.D., are transferring glutenin protein genes from bread wheat to
durum to develop dual-purpose bread and pasta varieties that may sell at
more stable prices.
The May issue of Agricultural Research magazine contains an overview of
research at the ARS quality laboratories. The article can also be found on
the world wide web at
Scientific contacts: Okkyung Kim Chung, ARS Grain Marketing Research and
Production Center, Manhattan, Kan., phone (785) 776-2703, fax (785)
776-2792, firstname.lastname@example.org; Patrick L. Finney, ARS Soft Wheat Quality
Research Laboratory, Wooster, Ohio, phone (330) 263- 3890, fax (330)
263-3658, email@example.com; Craig F. Morris, ARS Western
Wheat Quality Laboratory, Pullman, Wash., phone (509) 335-8573, fax (509)
335-8573, firstname.lastname@example.org; Gary A. Hareland, ARS Hard Red Spring and Durum
Wheat Quality Lab, Fargo, N.D., phone (701) 239-1340, fax (701) 239-1369,
This item is one of the news releases and story leads that ARS Information
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