Journal: Journal of Cereal Science, vol. 91, p. 1–8, 2020
International Standard Numbers:
Open Access: green
This study aims to understand the environmental factors, focusing on rain and fungal infection, affecting the assembly of glutenin polymers during grain maturation. Spring wheat was grown in the field and grains were sampled from 50% grain moisture until maturity. Grain moisture content, protein content, size of glutenin polymers, the presence of proteases, and the amount of DNA from common wheat pathogenic fungi were analysed.
Rain influenced the rate of grain desiccation that occurred parallel to the rate of glutenin polymer assembly. Rapid desiccation contributed to faster glutenin polymer assembly than gradual desiccation. Severe reduction in the glutenin polymer size coincided with increased grain moisture due to rain. Furthermore, increased fungal DNA followed by presence of gluten-degrading proteases was observed in the grain after humid conditions. The presence of gluten-degrading proteases was presumably involved in reducing the size of glutenin polymers in grain.
Our study gave new insight into how environmental conditions could be associated with the assembly of glutenin polymers during grain maturation. The results suggest that rain and/or fungal proteases play an important role in reducing the molecular size of glutenin polymers.