New Delhi: A wheat variety, with excellent baking quality that yields soft and sweet chapati at the same time, and free from stripe and brown rust, has been developed by Indian researchers, an official statement said on Wednesday.
The wheat variety called ‘PBW1Chapati’ has been released at state level in Punjab for cultivation under timely sown irrigated conditions.
The desired quality characteristics for a chapati are greater pliability, puffability, soft texture and light creamish brown colour, and slight chewiness, with baked wheat aroma. Inspite of the part of daily diet, the modern wheat cultivars do not possess chapati quality traits.
Tall traditional wheat variety C 306 has been the golden standard for chapati quality. Later, PBW 175 variety was developed by Punjab Agriculture University and had good chapati quality. However, both these have become susceptible to stripe and brown rust. The challenge now was to combine high yield potential and disease resistance and retains the actual chapati quality.
The wheat breeding team from Punjab Agricultural University has developed a new variety using marker assisted selection for a linked stripe rust and leaf rust gene (Lr57/Yr40 in the PBW175 background). They have retained the chapati making parameters by testing the segregating materials using various biochemical tests during development of the variety.
The development of end product specific and bio-fortified wheat germplasm was earlier on the breeding periphery and it got a great push from a grant under the theme ‘Swastha Bharat’, which in turn, paved the way towards consolidating the various gene pools for different traits to develop a viable commercial product with a focus on quality breeding.
Thus, it enabled a shift from productivity-oriented technologies to those focused on nutritional enhancement along with yield. Wheat lines emerging out of convergent crosses and possessing novel combination of high zinc, low phytates, high carotenoids, low polyphenols and high grain protein content have entered varietal pipeline.
Supported by the Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence(PURSE) grant, the thermocycler machine was used to monitor the presence of a linked stripe rust and leaf rust resistant gene – ‘Lr57/Yr40’ in the segregating generations and the final selected progenies.
Punjab consumer base had started shifting to MP wheat, advertised as premium flour and available at exorbitant prices and now, variety ‘PBW1Chapati’ aims to fill this void at commercial level owing to good chapati quality, sweet in taste and soft in texture. The colour of the chapati is comparably white and it remains soft even after hours of baking, researchers said.