Allelic variation at glutenin loci (Glu-1, Glu-2 and Glu-3) in a worldwide durum wheat collection and its effect on quality attributes
Durum wheat grains (Triticum turgidum L. ssp. durum) are the main source for the production of pasta, bread and a variety of products consumed worldwide. The quality of pasta is mainly defined by the rheological properties of gluten, an elastic network in wheat endosperms formed of gliadins and glutenins. In this study, the allelic variation at five glutenin loci was analysed in 196 durum wheat genotypes. Two loci (Glu-A1 and Glu-B1), encoding for high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS), and three loci (Glu-B2, Glu-A3 and Glu-B3), encoding for low molecular weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS), were assessed by SDS-PAGE. The SDS-sedimentation test was used and the grain protein content was evaluated. A total of 32 glutenin subunits and 41 glutenin haplotypes were identified. Four novel alleles were detected. Fifteen haplotypes represented 85.7% of glutenin loci variability. Some haplotypes carrying the 7 + 15 and 7 + 22 banding patterns at Glu-B1 showed a high gluten strength similar to those that carried the 7 + 8 or 6 + 8 alleles. A decreasing trend in grain protein content was observed over the last 85 years. Allelic frequencies at the three main loci (Glu-B1, Glu-A3 and Glu-B3) changed over the 1915–2020 period. Gluten strength increased from 1970 to 2020 coinciding with the allelic changes observed. These results offer valuable information for glutenin haplotype-based selection for use in breeding programs.