Wheat contributes 8 to 12 billion dollars annually to the US economy. Wheat flour is an important food ingredient used in a wide variety of products. A complex group of proteins in the endosperm, the gluten proteins, confer properties of extensibility and elasticity that are unique to wheat flour doughs. Other non-gluten proteins play important roles in grain development and may also influence quality. Both gluten and non-gluten proteins also are a major cause of food intolerances and allergies. Environmental conditions during wheat grain development impact flour quality and create major problems for millers and bakers. The primary goal of the research is to delineate the manner in which environment influences flour quality and allergenicity.
Determine the basis for changes in flour protein composition and quality that result from exposure to high temperatures during wheat grain development.
Identify and characterize wheat proteins responsible for human sensitivities and allergies and develop methods to detect allergenic proteins in food products.