Early expression of grain hardness in the developing wheat endosperm

K. M. Turnbull, D. Marion, T. Gaborit, R. Appels, S. Rahman

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Seeds from near-isogenic hard and soft wheat lines were harvested at regular intervals from 5 days post-anthesis to maturity and examined for hardness using the single kernel characterisation system (SKCS). SKCS analysis revealed that hard and soft lines could be distinguished from 15 days post-anthesis (dpa). This trend continued until maturity where the difference between the hard and soft lines was most marked. SKCS could not be applied to the small 5- and 10-dpa wheat kernels. Fresh developing endosperm material was examined using light microscopy and no visible differences between the cultivars were detected. When air-dried material was examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) differences between soft and hard lines were visible from as early as 5 dpa. Accumulation of puro-indoline a and puroindoline b was investigated in developing seeds using both Western blotting and ELISA. Low levels of puroindoline a could be detected in the soft cultivar from 10 dpa, reaching a maximum at 32 dpa. In the hard cultivar, puroindoline a levels were negligible throughout grain development. Puroindoline b accumulates in both the soft and hard cultivars from 15 dpa, but overall contents were higher in the soft cultivar. These findings indicate that endosperm hardness is expressed very early in developing grain when few starch granules and storage proteins were deposited in the endosperm cells. Further, the near-isogenic soft and hard Heron lines could be differentiated by SEM at a stage in development when the accumulation of puroindolines could not be detected by the methods used in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-706
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Developing wheat
  • Endosperm texture
  • Grain hardness
  • Puroindoline

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