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Compositional, nutritional, and functional evaluation of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium)

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Abstract

ABSTRACT‘Oahe’ Intermediate Wheatgrass (IWG) seed was found to have higher levels of protein (20.8%), fat (3.21%), and ash (2.64%) than wheat. the IWG protein is nutritionally limiting in lysine, as is wheat, but has higher levels of all other essential amino acids than wheat. A flour beetle larvae bioassay and chemical trypsin inhibitor and hemagglutinin tests demonstrated the absence of significant amounts of antinutrients. IWG kernels were milled with stone, impact, and roller mills. Stone milling resulted in a flour with farinograph characteristics more similar to those of whole wheat flour than did impact and roller milling. No gluten was found in IWG. Bread, muffins, cookies and cake containing various levels of IWG flour were evaluated by a sensory panel and judged to have very favourable appearance, texture, flavor and overall characteristics.

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... IWG flour exhibited a significantly (P £ 0.05) lower total starch content compared with both refined and whole wheat flour (46.7, 73.9, and 72%, respectively ) and a higher amount of protein (20, 15, and 13.2% for IWG, HWF, and whole wheat flour, respectively). The protein data correspond to results previously collected in which IWG was reported to have protein contents ranging from 17 to 21% (Becker et al. 1991Becker et al. , 1992 Bunzel et al. 2014; Schoenfuss et al. 2014). Despite having more protein, it has been reported that perennial grasses are characterized by low gluten content (Becker et al. 1991). ...
... The protein data correspond to results previously collected in which IWG was reported to have protein contents ranging from 17 to 21% (Becker et al. 1991Becker et al. , 1992 Bunzel et al. 2014; Schoenfuss et al. 2014). Despite having more protein, it has been reported that perennial grasses are characterized by low gluten content (Becker et al. 1991). Insoluble and soluble dietary fiber of IWG flour are approximately eightfold and fourfold more than those of refined wheat flour (Table I). ...
... The differences in dietary fiber are likely related to the nature of the flour: whole grain for IWG and refined flour for HWF. Indeed, the kernels of perennial grains are smaller than those of wheat; thus, they have a greater surface area per gram of seed and consequently more bran (Becker et al. 1991 ). Published data for whole wheat flour show total dietary fiber contents of approximately 11% (http://ndb.nal.usda.gov). ...
Article
Intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) (Thinopyrum intermedium) is a perennial grass with desirable agronomic traits and positive effects on the environment. It has high fiber and protein contents, which increase the interest in using IWG for human consumption. In this study, IWG flour was blended with refined wheat at four IWG-to-wheat ratios (0:100, 50:50, 75:25, and 100:0). Samples were analyzed for proximate composition, microstructure features, pasting properties (Micro Visco-Amylo-Graph device), protein solubility, and total and accessible thiols. Gluten aggregation properties (GlutoPeak tester) and mixing profile (Farinograph-AT device) were also evaluated. IWG flour enrichment increased the pasting temperature and decreased the peak viscosity of blended flours. IWG proteins exhibited higher solubility than wheat, with a high amount of accessible and total thiols. The GlutoPeak tester highlighted the ability of IWG proteins to aggregate and generate torque. Higher IWG flour enrichment resulted in faster gluten aggregation with lower peak torque, suggesting weakening of wheat gluten strength. Finally, the addition of IWG to refined wheat flour resulted in a decrease in dough development time and an increase in consistency, likely because of the higher levels of fiber in IWG. The 50% IWG flour enrichment represents a good compromise between nutritional improvement and maintenance of the pasting properties, protein characteristics, and gluten aggregation kinetics.
... IWG originated from Eurasia and was introduced to the United States of America in 1932 (Ogle et al., 2011). It has now been 20 years since the first study detailing IWG characteristics relevant for food use was published (Becker et al., 1991). The evaluated material in this study was derived from a forage variety (Oahe). ...
... Proximate compositional data exist for the following varieties: (a) Oahe variety, one of the earliest forage varieties grown by the Rodale Research Center (RRC). This variety was cultivated in Eastern Pennsylvania (1985 through 1988) and Colorado (1987) (Becker et al., 1991). Other forage varieties such as Beefmaker, Manifest, Manska, and Rush have also been analyzed . ...
... Ash content for the earliest Oahe variety was 2.6/100 g flour (Becker et al., 1991). It increased by 46.2% to 3.8/100 g flour by the time C5 was developed (Table 1). ...
Article
Background and objectives Previously used as forage crop, the perennial cereal grain Thinopyrum intermedium or intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) is currently being investigated as a novel food crop. The motivation behind these endeavors lies in its perennial growth habit, which provides numerous ecosystem services. This paper discusses how IWG breeding has affected its chemical composition and how processing strategies can leverage its potential as an ingredient. Findings Breeding has increased IWG seed size and starch contents, mostly at the expense of dietary fiber. While average protein contents have decreased, they still surpass those of most annual cereals such as bread wheat. Refined IWG displays better functional characteristics, presumably because it contains less insoluble fiber. However, refining may impact other nutritional properties of interest, e.g., glycemic index. Tempering facilitates bran removal while maintaining protein and carotenoid contents. Steam treatment reduced enzymatic activity of whole and refined IWG flours over storage. Conclusions The combination of breeding and processing can modify IWG’s chemical composition and enhance its functionality to make it competitive to commonly consumed annual cereal grains. Significance and novelty A review on breeding effects on IWG composition and successful processing strategies can assist in product development work as the grain enters the marketplace.
... Compared to conventional wheat grains, IWG has superior protein and essential amino acids levels, with cysteine and methionine content 1.4 times greater than wheat (Becker, Wagoner, Hanners, & Saunders, 1991). As IWG kernels are smaller than wheat, they have more bran and more dietary fiber on a weight basis (Becker et al., 1991). ...
... Compared to conventional wheat grains, IWG has superior protein and essential amino acids levels, with cysteine and methionine content 1.4 times greater than wheat (Becker, Wagoner, Hanners, & Saunders, 1991). As IWG kernels are smaller than wheat, they have more bran and more dietary fiber on a weight basis (Becker et al., 1991). The chemical and functional properties of IWG have been the subject of a recent study (Ismail et al., 2015), highlighting the superiority of IWG compared to whole wheat in terms of protein and fiber content. ...
... Cookies -whose texture mainly depends on sugar and fat to assure crispness and friability and in which gluten plays a secondary role in their making and end-product quality (Engleson & Atwell, 2008) -exhibited an appearance and spread similar to all-purpose flour cookies (Ismail et al., 2015). On the other hand, IWG showed poor bread-making performances and final quality (Becker et al., 1991;Ismail et al., 2015). ...
... Nutritionally, IWG was very similar to common wheat, but with slightly higher protein content, and the gluten content of its grains was lower than that of common wheat (Becker et al., 1986). Subsequently, an IWG cultivar 'Oahe' was investigated (Becker et al., 1991). The protein content of 'Oahe' grain was 20.8%, higher than that of wheat (~14%). ...
... Made with IWG as the only flour ingredient, muffins and cookies were judged good to excellent overall. Banana bread, made with 50% IWG-wheat, was also judged good to excellent for appearance, flavor and overall characteristics (Becker et al., 1991). However, the dough made from endosperm flour of 'Oahe' grain had weak viscoelasticity. ...
... However, the dough made from endosperm flour of 'Oahe' grain had weak viscoelasticity. When 'Oahe' endosperm flour was used as 15% of the flour in bread, added gluten was required to produce loaf volumes comparable to whole grain breads (Becker et al., 1991). Another IWG cultivar, 'Luna', performed similarly to a wheat cultivar with high quality dough (Wagoner and Schauer, 1990). ...
Article
Intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium; IWG), is a perennial crop that is well-known for providing good environmental services. As a perennial relative of wheat, IWG has good potential for development into a perennial grain crop. But the diversity and potential of the end-use quality of IWG grain are still unknown. Here, to understand the end-use quality of IWG, we investigated the variability among seed from 60 IWG genotypes in high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS), protein polymerization, and mixing characteristics. IWG genotypes have high grain protein content, ranging from 16.4 to 23.6%. Of the total proteins, the percentage of polymeric proteins show a large range across IWG genotypes, varying from 9.2 to 25.1%. Many genotypes have limited amounts of polymeric proteins, but several genotypes have large amounts of polymeric proteins and promising mixing properties, comparable to common wheat, Triticum aestivum. The amount of protein polymers in the SDS buffer unextractable fraction are significantly correlated (r ≥ 0.76) with mixograph parameters. Furthermore, we observed that HMW-GS variants showed differential contribution to protein polymerization and mixograph parameters. But the composition of HMW-GS in IWG was contributed by both parents, which might bring challenges for the evaluation of grain quality of open-pollinated IWG genotypes.
... Currently, IWG has only marginal dough-forming capabilities. As shown in Figure 3, although its total protein content is considerably larger than those of wheat and other cereal grains (12,90), it is deficient in gluten-forming proteins. Specifically, IWG does not contain the same high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs) that provide elasticity to wheat doughs ...
... However, dough from composite flour did not differ from the wheat control dough in the number of β-turns (89), structures that enhance gas bubble formation and dough volume (17). When measuring the ability of proteins to aggregate, dough containing IWG flour was capable of forming a weak but measurable protein network (90), which represented an improvement over earlier reports in which no gluten formation was observed (12). However, IWG doughs are currently no real match for pure wheat doughs, and the use of processing strategies could therefore assist in the formation of a protein network. ...
... At approximately 3%, the amount of fat in IWG grain is higher than that in most reports for whole wheat (12) In addition to functional considerations, the nutritional profiles of grains are also important for novel breeds, particularly owing to grains' role as staple foods in many cultures. IWG contains equal or higher amounts of essential amino acids compared with wheat (12), and an evaluation of antinutrient factors in uncooked IWG found lower levels of trypsin inhibitor than in whole wheat and equal nutritional values for both (12). Thus, IWG provides protein of good nutritional quality while potentially being less resource intensive than proteins from annual grains. ...
Article
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Historically, agroecosystems have been designed to produce food. Modern societies now demand more from food systems-not only food, fuel, and fiber, but also a variety of ecosystem services. And although today's farming practices are producing unprecedented yields, they are also contributing to ecosystem problems such as soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions, and water pollution. This review highlights the potential benefits of perennial grains and oilseeds and discusses recent progress in their development. Because of perennials' extended growing season and deep root systems, they may require less fertilizer, help prevent runoff, and be more drought tolerant than annuals. Their production is expected to reduce tillage, which could positively affect biodiversity. End-use possibilities involve food, feed, fuel, and nonfood bioproducts. Fostering multidisciplinary collaborations will be essential for the successful integration of perennials into commercial cropping and food-processing systems. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Plant Biology Volume 67 is April 29, 2016. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
... However, little is known regarding the flavor performance of IWG when incorporated in foodstuffs. A small-scale sensory study showed that muffins, cookies and cake made with various amounts of IWG were acceptable to consumers [4]. However, the impact of IWG on flavor in comparison to common wheat is not adequately understood. ...
... In beef, 2,3-diethyl-5-methylpyrazine is known to be generated from the thermal reaction between reducing sugars (glucose and fructose) and alanine with methylglyoxal as a key sugar fragment reactive intermediate [23]. IWG grain has been reported to have a significantly higher amount of alanine compared to common wheat [4]. This suggests that alanine is not the limiting factor for pyrazine formation in bread. ...
... This noted difference in aroma generation can be related to the compositional difference between wheat and IWG flour samples. For example, IWG grain contains present a higher amount of proteins, about 20% vs. 14% in wheat, whereas wheat contains a slightly higher amount of carbohydrates, about 69% vs. 62% in IWG [4]. Changes in the sugar: the N-containing ratio can have a significant impact on the Maillard formation pathways by modulating the generation of reactive intermediates and ultimately modifying the volatile aroma fraction [25,26]. ...
Article
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The aroma profiles of bread crusts made from intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) and whole wheat (Triticum aestivum) flours were compared. Based on gas chromatography/mass spectrometry/olfactometry analysis, twenty-four odorants were identified and further quantified. The concentrations of seventeen compounds were significantly different between intermediate wheatgrass and whole wheat bread crusts, of which sixteen compounds were higher in the whole wheat sample. The aroma profiles of the bread samples were subsequently characterized using sensory descriptive analysis (DA) and indicated that the roasted attribute was perceived at a significantly higher intensity in the whole wheat sample due to a greater amount of Maillard reaction compounds. Alternatively, bran and green notes were perceived at higher intensities in the intermediate wheatgrass sample, however they were not attributed to the presence of specific compounds but rather to a change in the aroma composition. Aroma recombination DA of the whole wheat and intermediate wheatgrass aroma models was similar to the original aroma profiles of the bread samples, demonstrating the sensory relevance of the identified odorants.
... However, it constitutes a more important adoption factor for farmers specialized in cereal production in comparison to farmers with livestock. Coming back to our example, intermediate wheatgrass present interesting nutritional composition in comparison to wheat (Becker et al. 1991) but lower level of gluten and lower dough forming capacity which might still limit market adoption (Kantar et al. 2016). While it is still early to think that perennial grain crops will replace annual relatives, they might have relatively interesting niche market value in the medium term. ...
... It has long been used as a forage crop but also produces edible seeds (Dehaan et al. 2018). As a relative to wheat, it offers good hybridization perspectives as well as market and nutritional opportunities (Becker et al. 1991;Dehaan et al. 2018). While there are indications that intermediate wheatgrass is deep rooted (Cox et al. 2006), little is known about the extent of its rooting system and root activity below 1.5 m depth. ...
Thesis
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The perfect storm. That is the term used by Gerald C. Nelson to describe the triple challenge of increasing food production while adapting to climate change and reducing the environmental impact of agricultural systems. Nowadays, conventional farming systems are showing some limitations, such as low resources use efficiency and poor ecosystems services that appear to be associated to the loss of plant diversity and perenniality in crop rotations. In addition, water, the most important yield limiting factor worldwide, will increasingly restrict food production in the future due to rainfall shortage and increase in human consumption. In such context, perennial crops, with denser and deeper root system could use resources in deep soil layers that are logically inaccessible to crops with shallower root system. The goal of this thesis was therefore to investigate the root growth and water uptake capacity of intermediate wheatgrass (Kernza®) and alfalfa, two deep rooted perennial crops, under field conditions and at great soil depth (i.e. 1.0-2.5 m). Maintaining hydraulic continuity along the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum is a prerequisite for deep water uptake. At the plant level, hydraulic conductivity depends on complex anatomical and physiological processes among which the root system constitutes the second largest resistance to water flow. Therefore, in depth characterisation of root and xylem anatomy was done to understand the hydraulic properties of the crop root systems, with a focus on their evolution with soil depth. Crops were grown in the field, rhizoboxes, mesocosms and solution culture to take into account the variability of root type and soil depth as well as growing environment. For both crops, axial hydraulic conductance decreased with soil depth and along individual root segment. Alfalfa roots had greater axial hydraulic conductance in comparison to intermediate wheatgrass roots, especially at depth. Root and xylem anatomy were highly variable across crop species, root types and growing environments. In parallel, a combination of imaging and sensor technology, stable isotope techniques and a modelling approach was used to study root growth and water uptake under field conditions during the 2018-2019 seasons. Both crops presented roots down to 2.0 m soil depth that were active in terms of water uptake. Alfalfa had greater root length at depth and absorbed twice as much water below 1 m soil depth, than intermediate wheatgrass. For both crops, model simulations predicted that water uptake in deep soil layers (i.e. 1.5 – 2.0 m) increase (i.e.>30%) under dry conditions. This thesis brings insights into the understudied field of root growth and water uptake at great soil depth. Particular efforts were put in understanding the environmental and agricultural contexts in which deep root growth, deep water uptake
... Consequently, IWG is higher in protein, fat, ash, insoluble and total DF, and certain phytochemicals that are mostly located in bran layers, but lower in starch content compared to the reference HRW (Tables 1 and 2). The protein range is in agreement with previous reports on IWG (Becker et al., 1991;Marti et al., 2015) as well as perennial wheat lines with perennial wheatgrasses in their pedigree (Gazza et al., 2016). All IWG populations had significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher protein content than HRW. ...
... C3-3486 and C3-2627 had significantly (P ≤ 0.05) more protein than all other samples, while Oahe had significantly less. Becker et al. (1991) reported higher protein (20.8%) for Oahe, potentially due to differences in growing location and year, which influence grain composition (Mpofu et al., 2006). While IWG's protein content is relatively high, it might not constitute appreciable amounts of the functional glutenforming proteins (Wieser, 2007), gliadins and glutenins, but may have more albumins and globulins, given that these constituents are mostly found in the aleurone and germ. ...
Article
A shift to perennial grain cultivation offers environmental benefits such as reduced soil erosion and nitrogen leaching. Recently, tremendous agronomic accomplishments have been made in domesticating perennial intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium, IWG). Thirteen IWG breeding populations were evaluated for characteristics relevant to food use, including chemical composition, activity of enzymes responsible for rancidity, content of antioxidants (carotenoids and hydroxycinnamic acids) and in vitro antioxidant activity based on the 2,2‐diphenyl‐1‐picrylhydrazyl and Folin‐Ciocalteu assays. IWG populations had higher insoluble dietary fibre, protein, fat and ash, but less starch than wheat. IWG populations were deficient in high‐molecular weight glutenins yet contained appreciable amounts of gliadins. Some populations exhibited significantly lower lipase activity than wheat, and all had lower lipoxygenase activities. Most IWG populations contained higher levels of antioxidants than wheat. This work provided key phenotypic information for developing IWG lines that combine high fibre, protein and antioxidant contents with minimal rancidity development.
... Based on comparisons of nearly 100 species of perennial grasses, IWG was first identified for domestication in the 1980s by work at the Rodale Institute (Kutztown, Pennsylvania, USA) because of its relatively large seed size, promising yield, and palatability (Wagoner 1990a, b). In addition to more favorable agronomic traits, the grain has a soft endosperm comparable to soft wheat (Triticum aestivum) (Bajgain et al. 2020b), with quality evaluations showing IWG has higher levels of amino acids, protein, and bran percentage than wheat (Becker et al. 1991). Even though IWG has higher grain yield than many perennials, its yield is estimated to only be 10-20% of annual wheat (DeHaan et al. 2014;DeHaan and Ismail 2017), necessitating sustained breeding efforts to increase the yield of this potential grain crop. ...
Article
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Key message Analysis of multi-year breeding program data revealed that the genetic architecture of an intermediate wheatgrass population was highly polygenic for both domestication and agronomic traits, supporting the use of genomic selection for new crop domestication. Abstract Perennial grains have the potential to provide food for humans and decrease the negative impacts of annual agriculture. Intermediate wheatgrass (IWG, Thinopyrum intermedium, Kernza®) is a promising perennial grain candidate that The Land Institute has been breeding since 2003. We evaluated four consecutive breeding cycles of IWG from 2016 to 2020 with each cycle containing approximately 1100 unique genets. Using genotyping-by-sequencing markers, quantitative trait loci (QTL) were mapped for 34 different traits using genome-wide association analysis. Combining data across cycles and years, we found 93 marker-trait associations for 16 different traits, with each association explaining 0.8–5.2% of the observed phenotypic variance. Across the four cycles, only three QTL showed an FST differentiation > 0.15 with two corresponding to a decrease in floret shattering. Additionally, one marker associated with brittle rachis was 216 bp from an ortholog of the btr2 gene. Power analysis and quantitative genetic theory were used to estimate the effective number of QTL, which ranged from a minimum of 33 up to 558 QTL for individual traits. This study suggests that key agronomic and domestication traits are under polygenic control and that molecular methods like genomic selection are needed to accelerate domestication and improvement of this new crop.
... It came the closest to meeting the following criteria for a perennial, mechanically harvested grain: hardy persistence; stiff, erect culm; synchronous seedset; resistance to shattering; rapid dry-down at maturity; easy threshing; relatively large seed; and good seed flavor. Although it cannot be used alone to make leavened bread, intermediate wheatgrass has a nutritional value similar to or better than that of wheat (Becker et al. 1991). ...
Article
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Perennial plants, growing in mixtures, make up most of the world's natural terrestrial biomes. In contrast, monocultures of annual crops are sown on more than two-thirds of global cropland. Grain and oilseed crops are the foundation of the human diet, but to date there are no perennial species that produce adequate grain harvests. Yet perennial plant communities store more carbon, maintain better soil and water quality, and manage nutrients more conservatively than do annual plant communities, and they have greater biomass and resource management capacity. These advantages provide a base from which to begin hybridization and selection for increased resource allocation to developing seeds, a decades-long process that must overcome or circumvent genetic complications. Breeding programs aimed at developing perennial grain crops have been initiated in wheat, sorghum, sunflower, intermediate wheatgrass, and other species.
... One promising perennial grain crop is intermediate wheatgrass, a widely adapted, high-yielding, cool-season forage grass that provides excellent feed for livestock in the Great Plains and Intermountain West regions (Ogle et al., 2003;Hendrickson et al., 2005;Karn et al., 2006). This grass was identified as a good candidate for domestication as a perennial grain crop based on agronomic properties (Wagoner, 1990b) and because the seed it produces is a nutritious and highly palatable grain (Becker et al., 1991(Becker et al., , 1992. Intermediate wheatgrass has been under selection for grain via bulk breeding and mass selection over the past two decades, with initial efforts at the Rodale Research Center in Kutztown, PA (Wagoner, 1990a;Wagoner, 1995) and more recently at the Land Institute in Salina, KS (DeHaan et al., 2005;Cox et al., 2010). ...
Article
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Perennial grain cropping systems could address a number of contemporary agroecological problems, including soil degradation, NO3 leaching, and soil C loss. Since it is likely that these systems will be rotated with other agronomic crops, a better understanding of how rapidly perennial grain systems improve local ecosystem services is needed. We quantified soil moisture, lysimeter NO3 leaching, soil labile C accrual, and grain yields in the first 2 yr of a perennial grain crop under development [kernza wheatgrass, Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & D.R. Dewey] relative to annual winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under three management systems. Overall, differences between annual and perennial plants were much greater than differences observed due to management. In the second year, perennial kernza reduced soil moisture at lower depths and reduced total NO3 leaching (by 86% or more) relative to annual wheat, indicating that perennial roots actively used more available soil water and captured more applied fertilizer than annual roots. Carbon mineralization rates beneath kernza during the second year were increased 13% compared with annual wheat. First-year kernza grain yields were 4.5% of annual wheat, but second year yields increased to 33% of wheat with a harvest index of 0.10. Although current yields are modest, the realized ecosystem services associated with this developing crop are promising and are a compelling reason to continue breeding efforts for higher yields and for use as a multipurpose crop (e.g., grain, forage, and biofuel).
... Wagoner (1990a) described in detail the characteristics that make intermediate wheatgrass a good candidate for domestication as a perennial grain, while noting shortcomings that must be addressed. Becker et al. (1991) concluded that its grain has protein quality "superior to the cereal grains now commonly grown", with no significant amounts of antinutrients. ...
Article
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One-third of the planet's arable land has been lost to soil erosion in recent decades, and the pace of this degradation will increase as the limits of our food production capacity are stretched. The persistent problem of worldwide soil erosion has rekindled interest in perennial grain crops. All of our current grain crops are annuals; therefore, developing an array of new perennial grains - grasses, legumes, and others - will require a long-term commitment. Fortunately, many perennial species can be hybridized with related annual crops, allowing us to incorporate genes of domestication much more quickly than did our ancestors who first selected the genes. Some grain crops - including rye, rice, and sorghum - can be hybridized with close perennial relatives to establish new gene pools. Others, such as wheat, oat, maize, soybean, and sunflower, must be hybridized with more distantly related perennial species and genera. Finally, some perennial species with relatively high grain yields - intermediate wheatgrass, wildrye, lymegrass, eastern gamagrass, Indian ricegrass, Illinois bundleflower, Maximilian sunflower, and probably others - are candidates for direct domestication without interspecific hybridization. To ensure diversity in the field and foster further genetic improvement, breeders will need to develop deep gene pools for each crop. Discussions of breeding strategies for perennial grains have concentrated on allocation of photosynthetic resources between seeds and vegetative structures. However, perennials will likely be grown in more diverse agro-ecosystems and require arrays of traits very different from those usually addressed by breeders of annuals. The only way to address concerns about the feasibility of perennial grains is to carry out breeding programs with adequate resources on a sufficient time scale. A massive program for breeding perennial grains could be funded by diversion of a relatively small fraction of the world's agricultural research budget.
... Published research on the chemical composition, function- ality, and applications of perennial wheatgrass grain is limited (1,5,6). We are currently working with companies such as Gen- eral Mills (2) and PepsiCo to determine how Kernza wheatgrass can be incorporated into their food products as a sustainability- enhancing grain. ...
... Compared with other perennial grass species, Thinopyrum spp. has desirable agronomic traits including a large seed size (5.3 g per 1000 grain weight) and nutritious grain [38][39][40][41]. Thinopyrum spp. ...
Article
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Wheatgrasses (Thinopyrum spp.), which are relatives of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), have a perennial growth habit and offer resistance to a diversity of biotic and abiotic stresses, making them useful in wheat improvement. Many of these desirable traits from Thinopyrum spp. have been used to develop wheat cultivars by introgression breeding. The perennial growth habit of wheatgrasses inherits as a complex quantitative trait that is controlled by many unknown genes. Previous studies have indicated that Thinopyrum spp. are able to hybridize with wheat and produce viable/stable amphiploids or partial amphiploids. Meanwhile, efforts have been made to develop perennial wheat by domestication of Thinopyrum spp. The most promising perennial wheat–Thinopyrum lines can be used as grain and/or forage crops, which combine the desirable traits of both parents. The wheat–Thinopyrum lines can adapt to diverse agricultural systems. This paper summarizes the development of perennial wheat based on Thinopyrum, and the genetic aspects, breeding methods, and perspectives of wheat–Thinopyrum hybrids.
... Therefore, properties of intermediate wheatgrass grain are expected to be somewhat akin to wheat, but substantial differences are also expected. Efforts to study the chemical properties of intermediate wheatgrass flour in various applications have been completed, and these results are expected to help direct future product development and selection programs aimed at improving grain quality parameters [10][11][12][13][14][15]. ...
Article
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Ecological intensification of agriculture is a proposed strategy to enhance the production of food while expanding ecosystem services and reducing inputs. Perennial plants that are directly harvested for human food are a novel means of ecological intensification, by potentially providing unprecedented levels of ecological services, such as increased soil carbon and reduced nutrient leaching. However, existing herbaceous perennial plants produce low yields of harvestable seed. Therefore, we initiated a domestication program to improve the grain yield of the perennial intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium [Host] Barkworth & D.R. Dewey). The breeding program has adapted to changing resources and to results from previous generations, with methods becoming more elaborate as the program has matured over six breeding cycles. Average predicted gains from selection accumulated over five cycles were 143, 181 and 60% respectively, for seed yield per head, percent naked seed and mass per seed. We did not detect negative correlations that would indicate simultaneously achieving increased grain yield and sustained perenniality would be particularly difficult. Heritability estimates based on genetic markers were the same or higher than those calculated from a pedigree, indicating that markers have potential to expedite breeding efforts.
... compared to bran content of 16.8% for HRW. The higher bran content was attributed to its small kernel size (Becker, Wagoner, Hanners, & Saunders, 1991). ...
Article
Background and objectives Intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) is an environmentally sustainable perennial crop with potential food applications. This study investigated the starch hydrolysis kinetics of IWG grown in Roseau (IWG‐RS) and Rosemount (IWG‐RM), Minnesota, USA and the molecular structure of their residual (resistant) starch after 2 hr hydrolysis. Hard red wheat (HRW) and Jasmine rice (JR) were compared to the IWG samples. Molecular size distribution and unit chain profiles of the RS fraction of raw starches after enzymatic hydrolysis were determined with gel permeation chromatography and high‐performance anion‐exchange chromatography respectively. Findings IWG flour had significantly lower total starch, lower RDS and higher lipid contents compared to JR and HRW. JR flour had the highest eGI (49.2), with IWG‐RM recording the lowest (40.6). Significant differences were observed in the glucan chain lengths of the RS fraction. JR had the shortest average chain length (DP=4.75) compared to HRW (DP=7.46), IWG‐RS (DP=5.72) and IWG‐RM (DP=4.85). Conclusions IWG flour had slower starch hydrolysis kinetics compared to JR and HRW flour. The RS fraction of the samples consisted mostly of short chains. The glucan chain length of IWG RS fraction was also significantly affected by location. Significance and Novelty IWG could potentially be exploited for the preparation of foods with lower glycemic responses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Whereas almost a near equal proportion of conventional (44%) and organic (43%) farmers had previous knowledge of perennial grains, a lesser proportion of farmers in France (36%) than in the US (68%) had heard of perennial grains before the survey (Table 2). This could be due to a greater amount of research on perennial grains in the US over the last few decades [4,5,[30][31][32][33][34][35][36], compared to Europe where research is limited, except for some research initiatives in Italy, Sweden, France, and Germany [6,22,[37][38][39]. ...
Article
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Perennial grain crops are currently being developed, yet little is known about farmer interest in these new crops. We conducted an online survey in France and the United States to evaluate interest in perennial grains. Results show that 57% of the farmers who responded reported they were “interested” or “very interested” in growing perennial grains, whereas 41% reported they needed more information. Respondents consistently ranked “to increase or maintain farm profitability” and “to improve soil health” among the top reasons why they were interested in growing perennial grains. Reasons why farmers were interested, as well as their concerns about growing perennial grains, differed by country and farm type (i.e., conventional vs. organic). More farmers in France than in the United States ranked “to reduce labor requirements”, and more conventional farmers than organic farmers ranked “to reduce inputs” among their top reasons for their interest. Farmers were also asked about integration strategies and management. More farmers in the United States than in France and more conventional farmers than organic farmers reported that they were interested in dual-purpose perennial crops that can be harvested for both grain and forage. Results from this survey can guide future perennial grain research and development.
... Genetic and agronomic change remains central to work on intermediate wheatgrass, as described earlier. But a small amount of cultural change was seeded early on when the Rodale Institute began testing the nutritional and cooking properties of this new grain (Becker et al., 1991) and marketed it as "wild triga" (Wills et al., 1998). Likewise, The Land Institute and collaborators also conducted food science research (Marti et al., 2016;Banjade et al., 2019;Tyl et al., 2020). ...
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The classic domestication scenario for grains and fruits has been portrayed as the lucky fixation of major-effect “domestication genes.” Characterization of these genes plus recent improvements in generating novel alleles (e.g., by gene editing) have created great interest in de novo domestication of new crops from wild species. While new gene editing technologies may accelerate some genetic aspects of domestication, we caution that de novo domestication should be understood as an iterative process rather than a singular event. Changes in human social preferences and relationships and ongoing agronomic innovation, along with broad genetic changes, may be foundational. Allele frequency changes at many loci controlling quantitative traits not normally included in the domestication syndrome may be required to achieve sufficient yield, quality, defense, and broad adaptation. The environments, practices and tools developed and maintained by farmers and researchers over generations contribute to crop yield and success, yet those may not be appropriate for new crops without a history of agronomy. New crops must compete with crops that benefit from long-standing participation in human cultural evolution; adoption of new crops may require accelerating the evolution of new crops’ culinary and cultural significance, the emergence of markets and trade, and the formation and support of agricultural and scholarly institutions. We provide a practical framework that highlights and integrates these genetic, agronomic, and cultural drivers of change to conceptualize de novo domestication for communities of new crop domesticators, growers and consumers. Major gene-focused domestication may be valuable in creating allele variants that are critical to domestication but will not alone result in widespread and ongoing cultivation of new crops. Gene editing does not bypass or diminish the need for classical breeding, ethnobotanical and horticultural knowledge, local agronomy and crop protection research and extension, farmer participation, and social and cultural research and outreach. To realize the ecological and social benefits that a new era of de novo domestication could offer, we call on funding agencies, proposal reviewers and authors, and research communities to value and support these disciplines and approaches as essential to the success of the breakthroughs that are expected from gene editing techniques.
... It has high biomass yield (Harmoney, 2015) and can provide ecosystem services (Culman et al., 2010;Culman, Snapp, Ollenburger, Basso, & DeHaan, 2013;Glover, 2010), as well as being used as a source of grain for human consumption. Quality evaluation has shown IWG has superior amino acid levels, higher protein, and higher bran percentage than wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) (Becker, Wagoner, Hanners, & Saunders, 1991). Further research has demonstrated that 50:50 mixtures of IWG flour and wheat increased nutritional properties while retaining sufficient baking quality (Marti, Qiu, Schoenfuss, & Seetharaman, 2015). ...
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The development of perennial grain crops is driven by the vision of simultaneous food production and enhanced ecosystem services. Typically, perennial crops like intermediate wheatgrass (IWG)[Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & D.R Dewey] have low seed yield and other detrimental traits. Next-generation sequencing has made genomic selection (GS) a tractable and viable breeding method. To investigate how an IWG breeding program may use GS, we evaluated 3,658 genets over 2 yr for 46 traits to build a training population. Six statistical models were used to evaluate the non-replicated data, and a model using autoregressive order 1 (AR1) spatial correction for rows and columns combined with the genomic relationship matrix provided the highest estimates of heritability. Genomic selection models were built from 18,357 single nucleotide polymorphism markers via genotyping-by-sequencing, and a 20-fold cross-validation showed high predictive ability for all traits (r > .80). Predictive abilities improved with increased training population size and marker numbers, even with larger amounts of missing data per marker. On the basis of these results, we propose a GS breeding method that is capable of completing one cycle per year compared with a minimum of 2 yr per cycle with phenotypic selection. We estimate that this breeding approach can increase the rate of genetic gain up to 2.6× above phenotypic selection for spike yield in IWG, allowing GS to enable rapid domestication and improvement of this crop. These breeding methods should be transferable to other species with similar long breeding cycles or limited capacity for replicated observations.
... Perennial species can have more-developed root systems, provide continuous ground cover year-round, and use nutrients more efficiently than annual species (Glover et al., 2010). Although many species have shown potential for domestication as perennial grain crops, intermediate wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth and D.R. Dewey] stands out because it has moderate shattering and its grains are easy to thresh, have acceptable size, and have high nutritive values with the capacity to produce baked products or beverages (Becker et al., 1991;Wagoner & Schauer, 1990). Recently, intermediate wheatgrass became commercially available to farmers in the United States under the trade name Kernza (Lanker et al., 2019). ...
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Intermediate wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth and D.R. Dewey] bred for high grain yield has become the first perennial grain in North America, and it is commercialized under the tradename KernzaTM. The expansion of this crop from the US Midwest to areas with milder winters would require an understanding of its vernalization requirements for flowering and the availability of genetic diversity for this trait. The goal of this research was to determine the length of the cold period required for vernalization in Kernza intermediate wheatgrass. Two treatment factors (population and length of cold incubation period) were evaluated. Seeds from eight breeding populations from Kansas and Minnesota (USA) were evaluated in growth chambers at 5 °C and 10 h light for cold periods from 3 to 9 weeks. The percentage of plants that flowered increased from 30 to 96% as the length of the cold incubation period increased from 3 to 7 weeks, following a sigmoid model. For most yield components, no changes were observed after 7 weeks of cold incubation. There were no differences among populations for most traits and there was large within‐population phenotypic diversity. These results confirm that Kernza intermediate wheatgrass populations have moderate vernalization requirements. Further research is needed to confirm the feasibility of breeding Kernza with lower vernalization requirements. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved Kernza has moderate vernalization requirement for flowering. Plant heading percentage increased from 3 to 7 weeks at 5 C and 10 h light. Plant heading % did not differ among Kernza populations from KS and MN exposed to cold.
... In North America, IWG has received greatest attention as a potential perennial-grain crop because of its agronomic properties, nutritious and palatable grain, synchronous seed maturity, moderate shattering and reasonable threshability (Waggoner, 1990(Waggoner, , 1995Becker et al., 1991). ...
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Perennial grain crops have been proposed as environmentally sustainable alternatives to annual grain crop systems that currently dominate the world's major breadbaskets. Proponents emphasize the potential of perennial grains to mimic natural systems and thereby reduce soil erosion, nutrient losses, and degradation of soil quality although need for adequate grain yield is also recognized as a prerequisite for success. Here we assess progress since 2005 (16 y) towards development of perennial grain systems with sufficient productivity to be seen as competent alternatives to annual wheat on the prairies and plains of North America and Australia. Based on reports published in refereed journals, we see little evidence that yield of Intermediate Wheatgrass or perennial wheats have improved to the point they are viable alternatives. Slow progress is attributed to lack of minimum grain yield targets for economic viability, lack of designated target regions where perennial grains are most likely to be competitive against annuals, selection methods that focused on components of yield rather than yield per se (i.e. on an area basis), and relatively small R & D investment compared to resources given to genetic and agronomic improvement of major annual grain crops. Given current status, we conclude that perennial grains will require substantial R & D investment and several decades if they are to achieve sufficient yield potential and yield persistence to become more than a niche crop for upscale health food markets in wealthy countries.
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Key message: The hybridization events with wild relatives and old varieties are an alternative source for enlarging the wheat quality variability. This review describes these process and their effects on the technological and nutritional quality. Wheat quality and its end-uses are mainly based on variation in three traits: grain hardness, gluten quality and starch. In recent times, the importance of nutritional quality and health-related aspects has increased the range of these traits with the inclusion of other grain components such as vitamins, fibre and micronutrients. One option to enlarge the genetic variability in wheat for all these components has been the use of wild relatives, together with underutilised or neglected wheat varieties or species. In the current review, we summarise the role of each grain component in relation to grain quality, their variation in modern wheat and the alternative sources in which wheat breeders have found novel variation.
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Efforts are underway to establish the perennial grain intermediate wheatgrass (IWG, Thinopyrum intermedium) as food ingredient due to environmental benefits provided by its cultivation. IWG contains more protein than wheat but exhibits poor gluten-forming ability. This study evaluated if refinement or dough conditioners (wheat protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, ascorbic acid, a commercial enzyme blend, and transglutaminase) could compensate for this characteristic. Dough stickiness and physical attributes of breads made with IWG from two growing locations that was either completely, partly or un-refined were measured. In completely or partially refined breads from one location, transglutaminase reduced stickiness (from 0.721 ± 0.022 and 0.494 ± 0.012 to 0.602 ± 0.007 and 0.309 ± 0.006 N, respectively). However, in unrefined breads it resulted in unacceptably dense crumb, decreasing cell counts from 237 ± 16 to 93 ± 22 and 311 ± 28 to 86 ± 7 per area viewed, depending on growing location. In contrast, ascorbic acid improved crumb structure in completely refined breads, decreasing cell counts (from 247 ± 3 to 129 ± 6 and 356 ± 23 to 104 ± 4 per area viewed, depending on growing location) while increasing average cell size. Moreover, surfaces of breads made with ascorbic acid were smooth, while absence or use of other conditioners resulted in uneven, unappealing appearance. These results highlight how processing can improve IWG functionality.
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Intermediate wheatgrass (IWG) breeding with food use as the primary goal has been ongoing for about 30 years. Tremendous improvements in grain yield, shatter resistance, and free-threshing ability have been achieved, coupled with considerable but comparably moderate increases in seed size. Larger seeds have prompted flour refinement evaluations, which has led to pronounced improvements in flour and bread properties.
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The nutritional value or quality of structurally different proteins varies and is governed by amino acid composition, ratios of essential amino acids, susceptibility to hydrolysis during digestion, source, and the effects of processing. To optimize the biological utilization of proteins, a better understanding is needed of the various interrelated parameters that influence their nutritive value. This review attempts to contribute to this effort. It discusses methods used for protein quality evaluation, research needs to facilitate labeling foods for protein quality, and factors influencing protein quality including amino acid analysis, digestion, food processing, antinutrients, and protein-energy relationships. Recent studies on the nutritional quality of more than 50 common and uncommon protein sources including cereals, legumes, other seeds, meat, seafood, insects, leaves, mushrooms, and potatoes are reviewed. Also described are advantages of consuming low-quality proteins fortified with essential amino acids, nutritional benefits of mixtures of complementary protein sources, plant genetic approaches to improving the nutritive value of foods, problems associated with liquid diets for adults and infants, socioeconomic aspects of new protein foods, and the influence of protein type and quality on lactation, the immune system, and serum lipids. This integrated overview is intended to stimulate interest in the introduction and use of new protein sources for feeding the ever-growing world population. Keywords: Amino acids; digestibility; food protein sources; health; malnutrition; mixed proteins; nutritional quality; protein quality
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The lack of suitable and appropriate crops has been a poorly recognized obstacle to the application of sound agroecological practices in some temperate and tropical regions. Cultivation of traditional hybrid crops in inherently hostile environments forces increased managerial and economic expenditures. Selection of ecologically harmonious crops exploits, rather than opposes natural forces. Based in part on US-AID funded research, we have identified three crops suitable for temperate/tropical cultivation. Amaranthus is recognized in Asia and Central and South America as a food crop that can be grown as a leafy vegetable or as a seed grain in mixed croppings. It does well under a wide variety of conditions using established cultural methods. It is nutritious and highly palatable and, in many areas, is well recognized in the market place. Prosopis species (mesquite) leguminous trees occur worldwide in arid and semi-arid areas. As phreatophytes, they are resistant to drought and high temperature extremes and produce abundant yields of edible beanlike pods. Using the beans from the tree, a variety of attractive, marketable food products have been prepared. We have also identified intermediate wheat-grass, a perennial relative of wheat, as an ecologically and economically attractive alternate crop. It is already a well-established range crop; grown for seed, it becomes a useful grain intercrop. The wholegrain or endosperm mill fractions make excellent tasting, appetizing and attractive baked products. Ongoing agronomic studies indicate it is especially suitable for balancing ecologically unstable areas.
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Five potential perennial grains (Agropyron trichophorum, A. intermedium. Agropyron X Triticum, Arrhenatherum elatius, Secale cereale X S. montanum) were analysed for proximate composition, amino acid content and fatty acid content. All were found to possess good to excellent nutritional characteristics when compared to conventionally grown grains (wheat, oats and rye). Generally high protein contents and chemical scores with unusually high methionine plus cysteine levels were found in the perennial grains, making them especially suitable for complementation with legumes in food applications.
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Seeds from eastern gamagrass, a perennial bunchgrass relative of maize, were chemically and nutritionally evaluated and compared to commercial maize seeds. The protein and lipid contents of gamagrass were 3 and 1.5 times greater than maize respectively, while the starch content was 0.55 times lower. Gamagrass protein is typical of cereal grains, being rich in methionine and low in lysine. The oil from gamagrass is 10% higher in unsaturated fatty acids than maize oil. No nutritionally significant amounts of trypsin inhibitor or hemagglutinin activity were detected. Chemical evaluation and larvae bioassay indicated gamagrass seed is nutritionally comparable and in some ways superior to maize and additional breeding and plant development studies are warranted.
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Wheat starch produced in the United States and Canada may be considered a by-product in the manufacture of wheat gluten. Most of the starch is sold in unmodified form to industrial rather than food outlets. The highest proportion is consumed by the paper industry, where it is used as a wet-end adhesive, in surface coating, and as an adhesive for the manufacture of corrugated board. Other uses are in laundry sizing and cotton finishing, where wheat starch is considered to produce a superior finish. In Europe, the main sources of starch are corn and potato, while wheat starch is produced on a small scale. The thickening power of wheat starch is less than that of corn starch; however, paste texture, clarity, and strength are about the same. The lower gelatinization temperature of wheat starch gives it an advantage over corn starch for use in corrugating adhesives. Wheat starch is also preferred for laundry sizing as it produces a stiffer finish at a lower temperature than corn starch. Wheat starch is preferred for baked goods because no chemicals are used in its production. Modified wheat starches can have superior emulsifying property over other starches when used in some food products. This may owe to the high lipid content. High lipid and pentoglycan contents cause wheat starch to be more difficult to process than com starch.
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The development of perennial grains has the potential to provide environmentally sound, economically viable alternatives for use on erodible land where annual crop production is not sustainable. The concept of perennial grain production is not new. Historically, seeds of perennial grasses have been used as grain by various human cultures. In this paper, efforts to develop perennial grain crops which were initiated during the 20th century are discussed. These include attempts by the Soviets and Europeans to perennialize annual grains such as wheat and rye. More recently, efforts in the U.S. inspired by the publication of Dr. Wes Jackson's book, New Roots for Agriculture, have focused upon the domestication of perennial grass species. The advantages and disadvantages of these two approaches to perennial grain development are discussed. Specific examples are given with the hope that future efforts can benefit from experiences of the past and present.
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Summaries (En, Es, Fr).Bibliography p. 259-275 (505 ref.). Reprint of: FAO Nutritional Studies no. 24 (AN 110660). Job number added acc. to DOCREP assignment Tables Summary
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Quantitative determination of amino acids is made simpler and more rapid by an instrument for automatically recording the ninhydrin color value of the effluent from ion exchange columns. The influent buffer, freed of air, is pumped at a constant rate through a column of sulfonated polystyrene resin. The effluent is met by a capillary stream of ninhydrin reagent delivered by a second pump. The color is developed by passing the mixture of reagent and effluent through a spiral of capillary Teflon tubing immersed in a boiling water bath. The absorbance of the resulting solution is measured continuously at 570 and 440 mμ as it flows through a cylindrical glass cell of 2-mm. bore. The peaks on the recorded curves can be integrated with a precision of 100 ± 3% for loads from 0.1 to 3.0 μmoles of each amino acid. A hydrolyzate of a protein or peptide may be analyzed in less than 24 hours. The more complex mixtures characteristic of blood plasma, urine, and mammalian tissues can be analyzed in 2 days. The instrument is applicable in principle to detection of ninhydrin-positive constituents in the effluent from various types of Chromatograph columns.
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Starch: Chemistry and Technology
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Evaluation of Intermediate Wheatgrass Germplasm
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Grain Quality of Couch Grass and Wheat-Couch Grass Hybrids
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Grass or Grain? Intermediate Wheatgrass in a Perennial Cropping System for the Northern Plains
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Intermediate Wheatgrass Grain Production Trials at the Rodale Research Center
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