Genotypic and Environmental Effects on Wheat Technological and Nutritional Quality

  • Eva JohanssonEmail author
  • Gérard Branlard
  • Marta Cuniberti
  • Zina Flagella
  • Alexandra Hüsken
  • Eric Nurit
  • Roberto Javier Peña
  • Mike Sissons
  • Daniel Vazquez


Technological (processing performance and end-product) and nutritional quality of wheat is in principle determined by a number of compounds within the wheat grain, including proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, minerals, heavy metals, vitamins and phytochemicals, effecting these characters. The genotype and environment is of similar importance for the determination of the content and composition of these compounds. Furthermore, the interaction between genotypes and the cultivation environment may play a significant role. Many studies have evaluated whether the genotype or the environment plays the major role in determining the content of the mentioned compounds. An overall conclusion of these studies is that except for compounds encoded by single major genes, importance of certain factors mainly depend on how wide environments and how diverse cultivars are within these comparative studies. Comparing environments all over, e.g. across Latin America, ends up with a high significance of the environment while large studies including genotypes of wide genetic background result in a significant role for the genotype. In addition, for some technological properties and components, genotype has a higher effect (e.g. grain hardness and gluten proteins), while environment influences stronger on others (e.g. protein and mineral content).

Content and concentration of proteins, but also to some extent of starch, some non-starch polysaccharides and lipids, are essential in determining the technological quality of a wheat flour. For nutritional quality of the flour, the majority of the compounds are together the important determinant. Thus an increased understanding of environmental effects is essential. As to how the environment is influencing the content of the compounds, there are some differences. The protein content and composition is strongly affected by environmental factors influencing nitrogen availability and cultivar development time. However, these two factors are impacted by a range of environmental (temperature, precipitation, humidity/sun hours, etc.) and agronomic (soil properties, crop management practices such as seeding density, nitrogen fertilizer application timing and amount, etc.) components. Thus, to understand the interplay between the various environmental and agronomic factors impacting the technological quality of a wheat flour, modeling is a useful tool. Several other compounds, including minerals and heavy metals, are to a higher extent determined by site specific variation, resulting in similar rankings of entries across locations, although the total content is varying among years. The bioactive compounds and vitamins are a part of the defense mechanisms of plants and thus there is a variation in these compounds depending on prevailing biotic and abiotic stresses (heat, drought, excess rainfall, nutrition, diseases and pests). Thus, even for nutritional quality of wheat, incorporating all compounds of relevance in the evaluation would benefit from modeling tools.


End-use quality Processing Cultivar x environmental interactions Proteins Minerals Bioactive compounds 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Johansson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gérard Branlard
    • 2
  • Marta Cuniberti
    • 3
  • Zina Flagella
    • 4
  • Alexandra Hüsken
    • 5
  • Eric Nurit
    • 6
  • Roberto Javier Peña
    • 7
  • Mike Sissons
    • 8
  • Daniel Vazquez
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Plant BreedingThe Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden
  2. 2.INRAE, UCA UMR1095 GDECClermont-FerrandFrance
  3. 3.Wheat and Soybean Quality Lab, National Institute of Agriculture Technology (INTA) Marcos Juárez, CC 21CórdobaArgentina
  4. 4.Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental SciencesUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  5. 5.Department of Safety and Quality of CerealsMax Rubner-Institut, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and FoodDetmoldGermany
  6. 6.MazanFrance
  7. 7.International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)TexcocoMexico
  8. 8.NSW Department of Primary IndustriesTamworth Centre for Crop ImprovementCalalaAustralia
  9. 9.National Institute of Agriculture Research (INIA)La EstanzuelaUruguay

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