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Genetic Researchers Seek Durum Wheat’s Softer Side

October 22, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Durum wheat is a “hard” wheat typically used to make pasta, but considered unfit for other baked goods. The USDA may have fixed that problem by developing a soft durum variety – without using genetically modified organisms (GMO). They did, however, alter the chromosomes in the wheat kernel by inserting puroindolines, the genes that influence texture and hardness. The result was a softer texture and different size that could still be milled through regular hard durum mills. Testing found that the softer durum flour produced good cookies and pancakes, but not better bread. Further research will involve moving glutenin genes into the soft durum grain to improve dough and gluten strength when baking.
Kacey Culliney , "Non-GMO soft durum wheat promising for bakers, says USDA-ARS", Bakery and Snacks, October 22, 2014, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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