Mechanistic Insight of Water Stress Induced Aggregation in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Quality: The Protein Paradigm Shift
Vertical and horizontal expansion of agriculture to provide food, feed, fibre and fuel to escalating populations has affected the availability of wheat in terms of quantity and quality. Irrigation is the most important factor influencing yield and grain quality. To achieve sustainable and quality wheat production, strategic measures should be adopted. Seven water stress-tolerant wheat varieties/strains were crossed with drought-susceptible lines using a line × tester design to evaluate the effect of water stress on genetic variability and heritability of wheat grains. As might be expected, plant traits like moisture, ash, fat, protein and gluten content showed different responses under normal, irrigated and water-stress environments. In particular, the quality of wheat grains was found to be highly significant, indicating the presence of high variability in plant attributes like moisture percentage, ash content, crude fat, crude protein percentage and gluten content under both normal irrigation and water stress conditions. Water stress played a key role in reducing the moisture and fat content, whereas correspondingly, it increased protein, ash and gluten contents. The paradigm shifts in the deleterious effects of water stress have been elucidated. The broad-sense heritability estimate was significant for each of these characters under both conditions, with water stress in some measurements altering the heritabilities of all quality characters.
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