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New wheat variety for better quality soft, sweet chapatis released for cultivation in Punjab

Field view of seed production of PBW1Chapati, spikes and the flour sold by PAU for premium chapatis.

Researchers have developed a wheat variety, with excellent baking quality for soft and sweet chapatis. The wheat variety called ‘PBW1Chapati’ has been released in Punjab for cultivation under timely sown irrigated conditions, according to information released by the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

Chapati is the primary source of protein and calories and is the staple diet in Northern Western India.

The desired quality characteristics for chapati are greater pliability, puffability, soft texture and light creamish brown colour, slight chewiness with baked wheat aroma.

Inspite of the part of daily diet, the modern wheat cultivars do not possess the best chapati quality traits. Tall traditional wheat variety C 306 has been the golden standard for chapati quality. Later, PBW 175 variety was developed by Punjab Agricultural University and had good chapati quality. However, both these have become susceptible to stripe and brown rusts. The challenge now is to combine high yield potential and disease resistance and retain the actual chapati quality.

Taking up the challenge, the wheat breeding team from Punjab Agricultural University have developed a new variety using marker assisted selection for a linked stripe rust and leaf rust gene Lr57/Yr40 in the PBW175 background. They have retained the chapati making parameters by testing the segregating materials using various biochemical tests during development of the variety.

The development of end product specific and bio fortified wheat germplasm was earlier on the breeding periphery and it got a great push from Department of Science and Technology PURSE grant under the theme SWASTH BHARAT.

This paved the way towards consolidating the various gene pools for different traits to develop a viable commercial product with a focus on quality breeding. Thus, it enabled a shift from productivity-oriented technologies to those focused on nutritional enhancement along with yield. Wheat lines emerging out of convergent crosses and possessing novel combination of high zinc, low phytates, high carotenoids, low polyphenols and high grain protein content have entered varietal pipeline.

Supported by the Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence(PURSE) grant, the thermocycler machine was used to monitor the presence of a gene resistant to stripe rust and leaf rust. Other equipment like rheometer (to determine the flour viscosity) and doughLAB purchased with this grant helped carry out post-harvest quality analysis of the selected progenies.

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