WoW ● Project Work Packages
WP2 - Effects of controlled growing environment on the composition of Bread wheat, Emmer wheat, Spelt wheat and Tritordeum

Grain composition is affected by the actual growth conditions such as soil, climate related stress factors (heat, water, drought), disease attacks and use of fertilizers and pesticides. These factors have an influence on the contents and composition of bioactive components, such as betaine, B vitamins, phenolics as well as specific proteins related to crop protection (natural plant own pesticides).
Ideally, studies addressing the effects of food processing on composition and the effects of known composition on gastrointestinal wellbeing, should compare grain samples that have been grown under comparable conditions and harvested and processed to whole grain flour subsequently.  However, for practical reasons this is not realistic and we have to work with grains that are available commercially in sufficient amounts to produce large quantities of bread required for the studies.
Emmer and Spelt are sometimes grown under organic conditions or traditional low input systems. Bread Wheats are usually grown under conventional high input systems. The Bread Wheat, Emmer and Spelt that we will purchase in the market for use in the studies will be obtained from different regions and different farmers, which will have significant effects on composition. For inclusion in the studies, all grains will be controlled for purity to avoid cross contamination with kernels from other grains as often may happen in the field or during transport and processing.
Thus, study is required to underpin to what extent differences in the composition of the purchased grains, as are being used in our clinical studies, are related to agronomy/environment or genetics. One way to check this is taking seeds from the purchased grain lot and sow these in highly controlled field plots allowing for growth under identical environmental and agronomic conditions. In the proposed field trials we aim to 3 emmer, 5 spelt and 5 bread wheat, and in 2 locations in Spain 3 tritordeum, 3 bread wheat and 3 durum wheat lines under conventional conditions. Since a single sample set will not allow us to define the variation between the effects of environment, genotype or G x E interactions, we will replicate the trials for at least two years.
Obtained micro harvests will be milled and subsequently analyzed for composition, allowing a direct comparison with the purchased bulk seeds composition.

The controlled field trials will be performed at different sites: Rothamsted Research in UK, Principle Investigator (PI) Prof Peter Shewry, Wageningen University & Research-site Lelystad, PI. Ing. Ruud Timmer, Netherlands, Agrasys, PI. Dr Pauil Lazzeri, Barcelona and Cordoba, Spain.