Join Date: May 2005
Origin and Taxonomy
The first wheat/rye cross is considered to have occurred in Scotland in 1875. Several publications outline the historical progress of triticale in the 20th century (Stoskopf 1985; National Research Council 1989; Villareal et al. 1990). The initial crosses between wheat and rye were sterile, with the first fertile crosses made in Germany in 1888. The name triticale first appeared in literature published in Germany in 1935. The first release of a commercial triticale cultivar occurred in Europe, while `Rosner' a Canadian release was the first triticale cultivar developed in North America.
Triticale (xTriticosecale) genomic constitution AABBRR or AABBDDRR (Table 1) is an artificial cereal crop genus created from crosses between wheat Triticum sp. and rye (Secale cereale L.) (Table 1). Triticale can be octoploids or tetraploids, however most triticale cultivars are hexaploids. Hexaploid triticale synthesized from wheats (AABB) and rye (RR) are called primary hexaploids, while hexaploid triticale synthesized from crosses of hexaploid triticale and/or hexaploid wheats or octoploid triticale are called secondary hexaploid triticale (Lukaszewski and Gustafson 1987). One advantage of the secondary hexaploid triticale is the increased genomic diversity, including the insertion of portions of the D genome from the hexaploid wheats. Triticale have either winter or spring growth habit, vary significantly in plant height, tend to tiller less, and generally have larger inflorescence in comparison to wheat. The majority of triticale cultivars have prominent awns, however recently, a limited number of both spring and winter types exhibiting awnless traits (less than 5 mm) have become available which have increased potential for use as a hay forage for livestock.
Agronomy and Production
The history of triticale breeding for cultivar development has been an agronomic success story. The first triticale cultivars were characterized by low yields, tall weak straw, shrunken and shriveled kernels, high susceptibility to ergot [Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul.], high protein, and high levels of the amino acid lysine. The advantage of high protein and high lysine in swine and poultry rations were nullified by the poor yield performance and the high incidence of ergot. However, triticale cultivars released in recent years have improved agronomic traits including high yields, resistance to lodging and ergot, plump kernels, and lysine levels higher than other cereal grains (Skovmand et al. 1984). The higher yield potential and plumper kernels of modern triticale cultivars have resulted in lower kernel protein levels which are similar to common bread wheats. Triticale cultivars at SARC, Montana, have consistently produced yields higher than spring and winter wheats grown under irrigated and dryland cropping (Table 4). Test weight of triticale averaged 90 kg/m3 (less than wheat), while heading date and percent protein were similar to the wheats. Research evaluations in Germany have also shown that modern triticale selections produce higher yields and equal or lower protein levels as compared to winter wheat cultivars (Karpstein-Machan and Heyn 1992). The authors concluded that triticale utilized soil and applied nitrogen more efficiently than winter wheat.
Emphasis on triticale development has steadily declined in the U.S. in recent years due in part to limited marketing opportunities, and to the U.S. Government wheat and barley support programs. Presently the majority of triticale grown in the U.S. is harvested as forage for livestock feed. Triticale cultivar development, production and utilization has been extensively reviewed during the past 15 years (Lorenz 1974a; Forsberg 1985; Nat. Res. Council 1989; Villareal et al. 1990). More recently gene transformation techniques are being used in an attempt to develop triticale cultivars which have hard white kernels, similar to the increased interest in the development of the hard white common bread wheats (R. Metzger pers. commun. 1995).
Several production guides outline cultural practices and utilization of triticale (Oelke et al. 1989; Salmon and Jedel 1993). However, many of the triticale cultivars discussed in these guides have been replaced by improved cultivars in recent years. Cultural practices at SARC indicate that seeding rates and fertility requirements are similar to wheat when grown for grain, however triticale seeding rates for forage use must be increased to 80 kg/ha low moisture dryland and 107 kg/ha under irrigated cropping, to compensate for reduced tillering as compared to other cereals.
Marketing and Utilization
Triticale grains, flours, and prepared products are available through both health food and commercial outlets on a limited basis. Triticale is often included in prepared mixed-grain hot and cold cereals, and muffin flours. Triticale bread and cracker products were available in the early 1980s to western Canada consumers when triticale was grown to the advantage of farmers under wheat grain marketing programs. While consumers demand was high, the triticale products became unavailable due to the lack of farm production as a result of changes in the wheat marketing program (D. Salmon, pers. commun. 1995). Detailed studies on the nutritional composition and baking quality of triticale have been conducted during the past 20 years (Lorenz 1974b, 1982; Nat. Res. Council 1989). The data indicate that while the nutritional quality of triticale is considered superior to wheat, the higher ash content, lower milling yields of flour, and inferior loaf volume and texture distract from commercial baking use of triticale. In 1991, nine of the twenty two papers presented at the 2nd International Triticale Symposium related specifically to the advances in the nutritional, and baking quality of triticale, an indication of significant interest in the promotion of triticale (CIMMYT 1991). Recent studies by Pena and Amaya (1992) indicate that triticale flour blends of up to 50% with wheat flours produce breads with quality similar to breads made from wheat flours only.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of including a variety of cereal grains as a major portion of their diets. Increased consumption of cereals should spawn consumer interest to seek out breads and products made from cereal grains other than from common bread wheat cultivars. The key factor in producing light textured breads is gluten quality of the flour. While the desired gluten traits have been successfully obtained in common bread wheats through many years of intensive cultivar development, little or no effort was applied to the alternative cereal crops described in this publication. Recently, however, studies have been directed to the gluten quality of einkorn, emmer, spelt, and triticale. Studies on gluten quality of common wheat cultivars suggest that characteristics of high molecular weight glutenin subunits, which are controlled by specific genes, are responsible for baking quality (MacRitchie et al. 1990). High molecular weight glutenin subunits considered to have good bread making qualities have been identified in emmer (Pena et al. 1993), spelt (Rodriquez-Quijano et al. 1990), and triticale (Bittle and Gustafson 1991; Smith et al. 1994). Cultivar development for the specific improvement of spelt protein quality for baking quality is also in progress (H. Lafever, pers. commun. 1995). Genetic studies for development of improved einkorn, emmer, and spelt are in progress, Crop Development Center, Univ. of Saskatoon, SK (P. Hucl pers. commun. 1996).
Presently, the dough characteristics of flours from the alternative cereals lack some of the traits required by commercial bakeries to produce light texture and adequate loaf volumes. Bread loaves produced entirely from whole grain flours of emmer, spelt, Kamut, and triticale, while having a range of pleasing flavors, tend to have a heavy dense texture. Bread having lighter textures can be made from whole grain flour of the alternative cereals utilizing dough additives to increase loaf volume. Surfactant (lecithin), oxidants (ascorbic acid), and lipids (shortening), enhance the texture and freshness of baked products. Home bakers may also consider the sponge-and-dough procedure as described by Hoseny (1992) which produces a softer, well flavored bread loaf.
Readers interested in the processes involved in bread making, may refer to a condensed publication (Hoseney 1992) or a comprehensive book on cereal chemistry and products (Hoseney 1994) which details the chemistry of making bread. An excellent book on baking describes the use of cereal crop species (other than common bread wheat), pseudo cereals, and tuber flours for use in the baking of both yeast and non-yeast breads (Dumke 1992). The combination of both gluten and non-gluten ingredients for use in non-traditional breads is near endless.
One of the most alluring aspects of the alternate cereals is the consideration that food products from einkorn, emmer, spelt, and Kamut are relatively hypoallergenic in comparison to food products made form the common bread wheats. Individuals who suffer certain allergic reactions to common bread wheat products state that the reactions are absent when consuming either kamut or spelt products. Research results suggest that a gliadin fraction of the wheat gluten may be responsible for the allergic reactions (Auricchio et al. 1982, 1985). Differences in gliadin proteins between spelt and common bread wheats have been reported (Federmann et al. 1992; Hucl et al. 1995). However, the factors which are responsible for the variations in allergic responses remains unknown. Recent studies also suggest that durum flours may offer an alternative to individuals with allergies to common wheat flour (Boyacioglu and D'Appolonia 1994a,b).
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