Academic article

Genetic Variation in Barley Enables a High Quality Injera, the Ethiopian Staple Flat Bread, Comparable to Tef

Abraha, Addis; Uhlen, Anne Kjersti; Abay, Fetien; Sahlstrøm, Stefan; Bjørnstad, Åsmund

Publication details

Journal: Crop science, vol. 53, p. 1–11, 2013

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 0011-183X
Electronic: 1435-0653

Open Access: none


Injera, a thin flat bread and a staple in Ethiopia, is made from fermented dough primarily from tef [Eragrostis tef (Zuccagni) Trotter]. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] are cheaper sources for injera but are considered to be of inferior quality. This study investigates varietal differences in injera quality and the possibility to improve barley injera quality by breeding. Eleven barley varieties and tef were evaluated for injera quality through participatory sensory evaluations and flour compositional analyses. Significant differences in sensory injera quality were observed where at least two barley varieties (Haftusene and Himblil, released in 2011) were found to have injera quality equal to tef. Partial least squares regression was used to build models to predict injera sensory quality from pasting properties. These models allowed the separation of Haftusene and Himblil from varieties with lower quality. To investigate if the high injera quality of Himblil was heritable, it was crossed to the intermediate quality Saesa, and 14 F3:7 families were evaluated. The evaluation suggests transgressive segregation for injera sensory quality and flour properties. Some families matched tef in overall quality over four testing environments. The family S×H-T182, derived from the Saesa × Himblil (S×H) cross and officially released in 2012 as a high injera quality variety, is a major achievement for barley breeding in Ethiopia.