Effects of pericarp alpha-amylase activity on wheat (Triticum aestivum) Hagberg falling number

A study which shows that pericarp alpha-amylase from immature seeds in harvested grain may be responsible for the low Hagberg falling number of some wheat crops.

Year of Publication2001

Pericarp alpha-amylase activity in wheat has largely been ignored as a potential cause of low Hagberg falling number (HFN) in the UK, because pericarp alpha-amylase enzymes have been thought too temperature-sensitive to affect HFN and are usually degraded by harvest. Nevertheless, there are several circumstances where immature grains may be present in harvested grain. Therefore, we tested the hypotheses that pericarp alpha-amylase enzymes in immature grains could lower HFN, but also that inactivation of the enzymes during drying and storage could ameliorate the effect. The first hypothesis was tested by addition of large amounts of pericarp alpha-amylase activity from freeze-dried, defrosted or fresh green grains to high HFN flours of low alpha-amylase activity, followed by HFN measurement. Enzyme assay and HFN analysis assessed the effect of drying on pericarp alpha-amylase activity after different storage treatments. Addition of pericarp alpha-amylase, from all three sources, to high HFN flours caused an exponential decrease in HFN. A drop in HFN from over 470 s to below 250 s resulted from addition of 5–10% by weight of green grains. Between 35–70% of the α-AMY-2 activity in immature grains was eliminated by air-drying at 20°C over 8–10 days, although the residual activity could still lower HFN. Thus, pericarp alpha-amylase activity may be a cause of low HFN in some UK wheat crops.

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crop physiologybread making wheat
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