Publications by authors named "Wujun Ma"

74 Publications

The surface morphology and dynamic impact properties with rebounding and splashing of water droplet on phase separation and breath figure assisted electrospinning films.

Des Monomers Polym 2021 May 25;24(1):162-172. Epub 2021 May 25.

College of Textile and Garment, Nantong University, Nantong, China.

Electrospinning provides a versatile, efficient and low-cost method for the preparation of continuous nanofibres from various polymers. In this study, the polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) block copolymer was synthesized via atom transfer radical polymerization. The smooth fiber, porous fiber or hierarchically porous microspheres were prepared by electrospinning from POSS block copolymer, poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and aluminium oxide (AlO). The influence of copolymer concentration, the ratio of the solvents, the diameter and concentration of the AlO on the surface morphology were investigated. Porous fibers and porous microspheres were prepared by regulating the ratio of the solvents from the phase separation and breath figure methods. The dynamic behavior of the water droplet with the constant volume impacting on the electrospinning films were reported. The morphology evolution, restitution coefficient, the change of energy of the water droplets are examined. The droplet bounces several times on the superhydrophobic surface, while the droplet remains pinned and does not rebound when the contact angles was lower than 150°. On the other hand, the water droplets were splashed on the AlO based electrospinning films. Finally, the mechanical properties of the electrospinning films were investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15685551.2021.1930670DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8158291PMC
May 2021

Increased Wheat Protein Content via Introgression of an HMW Glutenin Selectively Reshapes the Grain Proteome.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2021 May 14;20:100097. Epub 2021 May 14.

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia; School of Molecular Science, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia. Electronic address:

Introgression of a high-molecular-weight glutenin subunit (HMW-GS) allele, 1Ay21∗, into commercial wheat cultivars increased overall grain protein content and bread-making quality, but the role of proteins beyond this HMW-GS itself was unknown. In addition to increased abundance of 1Ay HMW-GS, 115 differentially accumulated proteins (DAPs) were discovered between three cultivars and corresponding introgressed near-isogenic lines. Functional category analysis showed that the DAPs were predominantly other storage proteins and proteins involved in protein synthesis, protein folding, protein degradation, stress response, and grain development. Nearly half the genes encoding the DAPs showed strong coexpression patterns during grain development. Promoters of these genes are enriched in elements associated with transcription initiation and light response, indicating a potential connection between these cis-elements and grain protein accumulation. A model of how this HMW-GS enhances the abundance of machinery for protein synthesis and maturation during grain filling is proposed. This analysis not only provides insights into how introgression of the 1Ay21∗ improves grain protein content but also directs selection of protein candidates for future wheat quality breeding programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mcpro.2021.100097DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8214148PMC
May 2021

Application of CRISPR/Cas9 in Crop Quality Improvement.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Apr 19;22(8). Epub 2021 Apr 19.

State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Perth, WA 6150, Australia.

The various crop species are major agricultural products and play an indispensable role in sustaining human life. Over a long period, breeders strove to increase crop yield and improve quality through traditional breeding strategies. Today, many breeders have achieved remarkable results using modern molecular technologies. Recently, a new gene-editing system, named the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 technology, has also succeeded in improving crop quality. It has become the most popular tool for crop improvement due to its versatility. It has accelerated crop breeding progress by virtue of its precision in specific gene editing. This review summarizes the current application of CRISPR/Cas9 technology in crop quality improvement. It includes the modulation in appearance, palatability, nutritional components and other preferred traits of various crops. In addition, the challenge in its future application is also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22084206DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8073294PMC
April 2021

Smart fibers for energy conversion and storage.

Chem Soc Rev 2021 Jun;50(12):7009-7061

State Key Laboratory for Modification of Chemical Fibers and Polymer Materials, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Donghua University, Shanghai 201620, China.

Fibers have played a critical role in the long history of human development. They are the basic building blocks of textiles. Synthetic fibers not only make clothes stronger and more durable, but are also customizable and cheaper. The growth of miniature and wearable electronics has promoted the development of smart and multifunctional fibers. Particularly, the incorporation of functional semiconductors and electroactive materials in fibers has opened up the field of fiber electronics. The energy supply system is the key branch for fiber electronics. Herein, after a brief introduction on the history of smart and functional fibers, we review the current state of advanced functional fibers for their application in energy conversion and storage, focusing on nanogenerators, solar cells, supercapacitors and batteries. Subsequently, the importance of the integration of fiber-shaped energy conversion and storage devices via smart structure design is discussed. Finally, the challenges and future direction in this field are highlighted. Through this review, we hope to inspire scientists with different research backgrounds to enter this multi-disciplinary field to promote its prosperity and development and usher in a truly new era of smart fibers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0cs01603aDOI Listing
June 2021

Genetic regulation of the traits contributing to wheat nitrogen use efficiency.

Plant Sci 2021 Feb 15;303:110759. Epub 2020 Nov 15.

State Agricultural Biotechnology Center, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, 6150, Australia. Electronic address:

High nitrogen application aimed at increasing crop yield is offset by higher production costs and negative environmental consequences. For wheat, only one third of the applied nitrogen is utilized, which indicates there is scope for increasing Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE). However, achieving greater NUE is challenged by the complexity of the trait, which comprises processes associated with nitrogen uptake, transport, reduction, assimilation, translocation and remobilization. Thus, knowledge of the genetic regulation of these processes is critical in increasing NUE. Although primary nitrogen uptake and metabolism-related genes have been well studied, the relative influence of each towards NUE is not fully understood. Recent attention has focused on engineering transcription factors and identification of miRNAs acting on expression of specific genes related to NUE. Knowledge obtained from model species needs to be translated into wheat using recently-released whole genome sequences, and by exploring genetic variations of NUE-related traits in wild relatives and ancient germplasm. Recent findings indicate the genetic basis of NUE is complex. Pyramiding various genes will be the most effective approach to achieve a satisfactory level of NUE in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2020.110759DOI Listing
February 2021

Contribution to Breadmaking Performance of Two Different HMW Glutenin Alleles Expressed in Hexaploid Wheat.

J Agric Food Chem 2021 Jan 23;69(1):36-44. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia 6150, Australia.

Two expressed alleles of the 1Ay high-molecular-weight glutenin subunit (HMW-GS), and , previously introduced in durum and bread wheat, were separately introgressed into the Australian bread wheat ( L.) cv. Livingston. The developed lines had different allelic compositions compared to that of the parental cultivar (), having either + or + at the locus. Since and are known to have the same effects on quality, differences observed between the two sets of the developed lines are attributed to the two introgressed genes. Yield and agronomic performance of the lines were evaluated in the field, and the protein, dough, and baking quality attributes were evaluated by large-scale quality testing. Results demonstrated that the subunit 1Ay21* increased unextractable polymeric protein by up to 14.3% and improved bread loaf volume by up to 9.2%. On the other hand, subunit increased total grain protein by up to 9% along with dough elasticity. Furthermore, milling extraction was higher, and flour ash was lower in the lines compared to the lines integrating . Both sets of the 1Ay introgression lines reduced dough-mixing time compared to the recurrent parent Livingston. The results also showed that had a higher potential to improve the baking quality than under the Livingston genetic background. Both alleles showed the potential to be utilized in breeding programs to improve the breadmaking quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.0c03880DOI Listing
January 2021

Transcriptomic Study for Identification of Major Nitrogen Stress Responsive Genes in Australian Bread Wheat Cultivars.

Front Genet 2020 30;11:583785. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

State Agriculture Biotechnology Centre, College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, Australia.

High nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in bread wheat is pivotal to sustain high productivity. Knowledge about the physiological and transcriptomic changes that regulate NUE, in particular how plants cope with nitrogen (N) stress during flowering and the grain filling period, is crucial in achieving high NUE. Nitrogen response is differentially manifested in different tissues and shows significant genetic variability. A comparative transcriptome study was carried out using RNA-seq analysis to investigate the effect of nitrogen levels on gene expression at 0 days post anthesis (0 DPA) and 10 DPA in second leaf and grain tissues of three Australian wheat () varieties that were known to have varying NUEs. A total of 12,344 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified under nitrogen stress where down-regulated DEGs were predominantly associated with carbohydrate metabolic process, photosynthesis, light-harvesting, and defense response, whereas the up-regulated DEGs were associated with nucleotide metabolism, proteolysis, and transmembrane transport under nitrogen stress. Protein-protein interaction and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways analysis further revealed that highly interacted down-regulated DEGs were involved in light-harvesting and photosynthesis, and up-regulated DEGs were mostly involved in steroid biosynthesis under N stress. The common down-regulated genes across the cultivars included photosystem II 10 kDa polypeptide family proteins, plant protein 1589 of uncharacterized protein function, etc., whereas common up-regulated genes included glutamate carboxypeptidase 2, placenta-specific8 (PLAC8) family protein, and a sulfate transporter. On the other hand, high NUE cultivar Mace responded to nitrogen stress by down-regulation of a stress-related gene annotated as beta-1,3-endoglucanase and pathogenesis-related protein (PR-4, PR-1) and up-regulation of MYB/SANT domain-containing RADIALIS (RAD)-like transcription factors. The medium NUE cultivar Spitfire and low NUE cultivar Volcani demonstrated strong down-regulation of Photosystem II 10 kDa polypeptide family protein and predominant up-regulation of 11S globulin seed storage protein 2 and protein transport protein Sec61 subunit gamma. In grain tissue, most of the DEGs were related to nitrogen metabolism and proteolysis. The DEGs with high abundance in high NUE cultivar can be good candidates to develop nitrogen stress-tolerant variety with improved NUE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2020.583785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7554635PMC
September 2020

Diurnal Changes in Water Soluble Carbohydrate Components in Leaves and Sucrose Associated Gene Expression during Grain Development in Wheat.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Nov 5;21(21). Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Agricultural Sciences, College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

In plant tissues, sugar levels are determined by the balance between sugar import, export, and sugar synthesis. So far, water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) dynamics have not been investigated in a diurnal context in wheat stems as compared to the dynamics in flag leaves during the terminal phases of grain filling. Here, we filled this research gap and tested the hypothesis that WSC dynamics interlink with gene expression of The main stems and flag leaves of two genotypes, Westonia and Kauz, were sampled at four hourly intervals over a 24 h period at six developmental stages from heading to 28 DAA (days after anthesis). The total levels of WSC and WSC components were measured, and gene expression was quantified at 21 DAA. On average, the total WSC and fructan levels in the stems were double those in the flag leaves. In both cultivars, diurnal patterns in the total WSC and sucrose were detected in leaves across all developmental stages, but not for the fructans 6-kestose and bifurcose. However, in stems, diurnal patterns of the total WSC and fructan were only found at anthesis in Kauz. The different levels of WSC and WSC components between Westonia and Kauz are likely associated with leaf chlorophyll levels and fructan degradation, especially 6-kestose degradation. High correlation between levels of expression and sucrose in leaves indicated that expression is likely to be influenced by the level of sucrose in leaves, and the combination of high levels of expression and sucrose in Kauz may contribute to its high grain yield under well-watered conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218276DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7663803PMC
November 2020

Current Progress in Understanding and Recovering the Wheat Genes Lost in Evolution and Domestication.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Aug 14;21(16). Epub 2020 Aug 14.

State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Perth, WA 6150, Australia.

The modern cultivated wheat has passed a long evolution involving origin of wild emmer (WEM), development of cultivated emmer, formation of spelt wheat and finally establishment of modern bread wheat and durum wheat. During this evolutionary process, rapid alterations and sporadic changes in wheat genome took place, due to hybridization, polyploidization, domestication, and mutation. This has resulted in some modifications and a high level of gene loss. As a result, the modern cultivated wheat does not contain all genes of their progenitors. These lost genes are novel for modern wheat improvement. Exploring wild progenitor for genetic variation of important traits is directly beneficial for wheat breeding. WEM wheat () is a great genetic resource with huge diversity for traits. Few genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL) for agronomic, quantitative, biotic and abiotic stress-related traits have already been mapped from WEM. This resource can be utilized for modern wheat improvement by integrating identified genes or QTLs through breeding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165836DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7461589PMC
August 2020

Reduction of Allergenic Potential in Bread Wheat RNAi Transgenic Lines Silenced for , and Genes.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Aug 13;21(16). Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Agriculture and Forest Science (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy.

Although wheat is used worldwide as a staple food, it can give rise to adverse reactions, for which the triggering factors have not been identified yet. These reactions can be caused mainly by kernel proteins, both gluten and non-gluten proteins. Among these latter proteins, α-amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATI) are involved in baker's asthma and realistically in Non Celiac Wheat Sensitivity (NCWS). In this paper, we report characterization of three transgenic lines obtained from the bread wheat cultivar Bobwhite silenced by RNAi in the three ATI genes , and . We have obtained transgenic lines showing an effective decrease in the activity of target genes that, although showing a higher trypsin inhibition as a pleiotropic effect, generate a lower reaction when tested with sera of patients allergic to wheat, accounting for the important role of the three target proteins in wheat allergies. Finally, these lines show unintended differences in high molecular weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS) accumulation, involved in technological performances, but do not show differences in terms of yield. The development of new genotypes accumulating a lower amount of proteins potentially or effectively involved in allergies to wheat and NCWS, not only offers the possibility to use them as a basis for the production of varieties with a lower impact on adverse reaction, but also to test if these proteins are actually implicated in those pathologies for which the triggering factor has not been established yet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165817DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7461106PMC
August 2020

Study on Effect of Extraction Techniques and Seed Coat on Proteomic Distribution and Cheese Production from Soybean Milk.

Molecules 2020 Jul 16;25(14). Epub 2020 Jul 16.

College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Perth 6150, Australia.

Soybean-based food products are a major source of protein. In the present study, proteins in soybean milk from seeds of the cultivar Bunya () were extracted using the cheesecloth and the centrifuge methods. The milk was produced through mechanical crushing of both whole and split seeds in water. Following separation by either the cheesecloth or centrifuge, proteins were isolated from the soybean milk by using thiourea/urea solubilisation and then separated them using two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The isolated proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. A total of 97 spots were identified including 49 that displayed different abundances. Of the two separation techniques, centrifuge separation gave higher protein extraction and more intense protein spots than cheesecloth separation. Eleven of the β-subunits of β-conglycinin, three of the α-subunits of β-conglycinin, and four of the mutant glycinin showed different levels of abundances between separation techniques, which might be related to subsequent cheese quality. Notably, split-seed soybean milk has less allergenic proteins with four α-subunits of β-conglycinin compared to whole-seed milk with eight of those proteins. The sensory evaluation showed that the cheese produced from split-soybean milk received higher consumer preferences compared to that of whole seed, which could be explained by their proteomic differences. The demonstrated reference map for whole and split-seed soybean milk could be further utilized in the research related to soybean cheesemaking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7397084PMC
July 2020

Proteomic profiling of developing wheat heads under water-stress.

Funct Integr Genomics 2020 Sep 17;20(5):695-710. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, 3010, Australia.

A replicated iTRAQ (isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification) study on developing wheat heads from two doubled haploid (DH) lines identified from a cross between cv Westonia x cv Kauz characterized the proteome changes influenced by reproductive stage water-stress. All lines were exposed to 10 days of water-stress from early booting (Zadok 40), with sample sets taken from five head developmental stages. Two sample groups (water-stressed and control) account for 120 samples that required 18 eight-plex iTRAQ runs. Based on the IWGSC RefSeq v1 wheat assembly, among the 4592 identified proteins, a total of 132 proteins showed a significant response to water-stress, including the down-regulation of a mitochondrial Rho GTPase, a regulator of intercellular fundamental biological processes (7.5 fold) and cell division protein FtsZ at anthesis (6.0 fold). Up-regulated proteins included inosine-5'-monophosphate dehydrogenase (3.83 fold) and glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase (4.05 fold). The Pre-FHE and FHE stages (full head emerged) of head development were differentiated by 391 proteins and 270 proteins differentiated the FHE and Post-FHE stages. Water-stress during meiosis affected seed setting with 27% and 6% reduction in the progeny DH105 and DH299 respectively. Among the 77 proteins that differentiated between the two DH lines, 7 proteins were significantly influenced by water-stress and correlated with the seed set phenotype response of the DH lines to water-stress (e.g. the up-regulation of a subtilisin-like protease in DH 299 relative to DH 105). This study provided unique insights into the biological changes in developing wheat head that occur during water-stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10142-020-00746-9DOI Listing
September 2020

Proteomic Characterisation of Lupin () Milk as Influenced by Extraction Techniques, Seed Coat and Cultivars.

Molecules 2020 Apr 13;25(8). Epub 2020 Apr 13.

College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

Lupin seeds are rich in proteins and other essential ingredients that can help to improve human health. The protein contents in both whole and split seeds of two lupin cultivars (Mandleup and PBA Jurien) were used to produce the lupin milk using the cheesecloth and centrifuge method. Proteins were extracted from the lupin milk using thiourea/urea solubilization. The proteins were separated by a two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and then identified with mass spectrometry. A total of 230 protein spots were identified, 60 of which showed differential abundances. The cheesecloth separation showed protein extractability much better than that of the centrifuge method for both the cultivars. The results from this study could offer guidance for future comparative analysis and identification of lupin milk protein and provide effective separation technique to determine specific proteins in the cheese-making process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules25081782DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7221801PMC
April 2020

Characterising avenin-like proteins (ALPs) from albumin/globulin fraction of wheat grains by RP-HPLC, SDS-PAGE, and MS/MS peptides sequencing.

BMC Plant Biol 2020 Jan 29;20(1):45. Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Australia-China Joint Centre for Wheat Improvement, Western Australian State Agriculture Biotechnology Centre, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, 6150, Australia.

Background: Wheat grain avenin-like proteins (ALPs) belong to a recently discovered class of wheat grain storage protein. ALPs in wheat grains not only have beneficial effects on dough quality but also display antifungal activities, which is a novel observation for wheat storage proteins. Previous studies have shown that ALPs are likely present in the albumin/globulin fractions of total protein extract from wheat flour. However, the accumulation characteristics of these ALPs in the mature wheat grain remains unknown.

Results: In the present study, a total of 13 ALPs homologs were isolated and characterized in the albumin/globulin fractions of the wheat protein extract. A combination of multiple techniques including RP-HPLC, SDS-PAGE, MALDI-TOF and peptide sequencing were used for accurate separation and identification of individual ALP homolog. The C-terminal TaALP-by-4AL/7DS, TaALP-by-4AL/7AS/7DS, TaALP-bx/4AL/7AS/7DS, TaALP-ay-7DS, TaALP-ay-4AL, TaALP-ax-4AL, TaALP-ax-7AS, and TaALP-ax-7DS, were separated as individual protein bands from wheat flour for the first time. These unique ALPs peptides were mapped to the latest wheat genome assembly in the IWGSC database. The characteristic defence related proteins present in albumin and globulin fractions, such as protein disulfide-isomerase (PDI), grain softness protein (GSP), alpha-amylase inhibitors (AAIs) and endogenous alpha-amylase/subtilisin inhibitor were also found to co-segregate with these identified ALPs, avenin-3 and α-gliadins. The molecular weight range and the electrophoresis segregation properties of ALPs were characterised in comparison with the proteins containing the tryp_alpha_amyl domain (PF00234) and the gliadin domain (PF13016), which play a role in plant immunity and grain quality. We examined the phylogenetic relationships of the AAIs, GSP, avenin-3, α-gliadins and ALPs, based on the alignment of their functional domains. MALDI-TOF profiling indicated the occurrence of certain post-translations modifications (PTMs) in some ALP subunits.

Conclusions: We reported for the first time the complete profiling of ALPs present in the albumin/globulin fractions of wheat grain protein extracts. We concluded that majority of the ALPs homologs are expressed in wheat grains. We found clear evidence of PTMs in several ALPs peptides. The identification of both gliadin domain (PF13016) and Tryp_alpha_amyl domain (PF00234) in the mature forms of ALPs highlighted the multiple functional properties of ALPs in grain quality and disease resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12870-020-2259-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6988229PMC
January 2020

Solubility variation of wheat dough proteins: A practical way to track protein behaviors in dough processing.

Food Chem 2020 May 19;312:126038. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Australia China Centre for Wheat Improvement, College of Science Health Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, 90, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia. Electronic address:

To understand wheat dough protein behavior under dual mixing and thermal treatment, solubility of Mixolab-dough proteins were investigated using nine extraction buffers of different dissociation capacities. Size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography (SE-HPLC) and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DGE) demonstrated that overall changes of protein fractions and dynamic responses of specific proteins during dough processing were well reflected by their solubility variations. After starch pasting, the abundance of 0.5 M NaCl extractable proteins were decreased except for six protein groups including α-amylase inhibitors and superoxide dismutase (SOD). The solubility loss of glutenin proteins at C3 (32 min; 80 ℃) was mainly ascribed to the un-extractable HMW-GSs, LMW-GSs, globulin and triticin, while the extract yield of α-, β-, γ-gliadins and avenin-like proteins (ALPs) increased after starch pasting. Differential responses of dough proteins to extraction systems provides the basis for further exploring wheat protein dynamics in processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.126038DOI Listing
May 2020

Tuning the microstructure and electrochemical behavior of lignin-based ultrafine carbon fibers via hydrogen-bonding interaction.

Int J Biol Macromol 2020 Aug 30;157:706-714. Epub 2019 Nov 30.

Institute of Hybrid Materials, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266071, China. Electronic address:

Hardwood Kraft lignin (HKL)-based ultrafine carbon fibers with different pore structures and properties were prepared by controlling the intermolecular interaction between HKL and incorporated poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(propylene glycol)-block-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-PPG-PEG) triblock copolymer. The thermal properties of HKL-based ultrafine fibers together with the morphology and pore structures of HKL-based ultrafine carbon fibers were extensively investigated with DSC, TG, SEM, BET, DLS and HRTEM to provide comprehensive knowledge on the effect of added PEG-PPG-PEG on the properties of obtained fibers. Results suggested that addition of PEG-PPG-PEG increased the thermal stability of HKL and promoted the formation of graphite crystallites in HKL-based ultrafine carbon fibers via enhanced intermolecular hydrogen bonding interactions. The electrochemical behavior of HKL-based ultrafine carbon fibers with different PEG-PPG-PEG contents were also characterized to expand their potential application in electrochemical capacitors. All the HKL ultrafine carbon fibers-based electrodes showed good capacitive behavior and stability. Besides, the specific capacitance of HKL-based ultrafine carbon fibers can be significantly tuned by the addition of PEG-PPG-PEG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.11.235DOI Listing
August 2020

Introgression of an expressed HMW 1Ay glutenin subunit allele into bread wheat cv. Lincoln increases grain protein content and breadmaking quality without yield penalty.

Theor Appl Genet 2020 Feb 15;133(2):517-528. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Australia-China Joint Centre for Wheat Improvement, State Agriculture Biotechnology Centre, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, 6150, Australia.

Key Message: An expressed HMW glutenin subunit Glu-Ay showed positive impacts on a range of wheat processing quality and yield traits. The grain protein compositions are significantly optimised for baking, resulting in a better breadmaking quality. The unique breadmaking properties of wheat flour are related to the quality and quantity of high-molecular weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs) present in the grain. In the current study, the silent 1Ay HMW-GS allele, present in most bread wheat cultivars, was replaced by the expressed 1Ay21* allele, which was introgressed into Australian bread wheat cultivar Lincoln by a backcrossing and selfing scheme. Stability of gene expression and the effect of the introgressed 1Ay21* subunit on protein composition, agronomic traits, flour functionality, and breadmaking quality were studied using BC4F5 grain grown in glasshouse and field. Field phenotyping and grain quality testing showed that the 1Ay21* gene conferred significant improvements to a range of traits, including an increase in grain protein content by up to 9%, UPP% by up to 24%, bread volume by up to 28%. The glasshouse experiment and one of the field trials showed positive 1Ay21* effects on yield, while one field trial showed one significant effects. This indicates that expression of the 1Ay21* gene has the potential of simultaneously increasing protein content and grain yield under certain environment. The qualitative improvements of the grain also led to a reduction of the energy required during the baking process in addition to the significant positive effects on bread quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00122-019-03483-1DOI Listing
February 2020

2D Crystal-Based Fibers: Status and Challenges.

Small 2019 09 13;15(39):e1902691. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

College of Physics and Optoelectronic Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, 518060, China.

2D crystals are emerging new materials in multidisciplinary fields including condensed state physics, electronics, energy, environmental engineering, and biomedicine. To employ 2D crystals for practical applications, these nanoscale crystals need to be processed into macroscale materials, such as suspensions, fibers, films, and 3D macrostructures. Among these macromaterials, fibers are flexible, knittable, and easy to use, which can fully reflect the advantages of the structure and properties of 2D crystals. Therefore, the fabrication and application of 2D crystal-based fibers is of great importance for expanding the impact of 2D crystals. In this Review, 2D crystals that are successfully prepared are overviewed based on their composition of elements. Subsequently, methods for preparing 2D crystals, 2D crystals dispersions, and 2D crystal-based fibers are systematically introduced. Then, the applications of 2D crystal-based fibers, such as flexible electronic devices, high-efficiency catalysis, and adsorption, are also discussed. Finally, the status-of-quo, perspectives, and future challenges of 2D crystal-based fibers are summarized. This Review provides directions and guidelines for developing new 2D crystal-based fibers and exploring their potentials in the fields of smart wearable devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smll.201902691DOI Listing
September 2019

Three-Dimensional Porous Carbon Nanotubes/Reduced Graphene Oxide Fiber from Rapid Phase Separation for a High-Rate All-Solid-State Supercapacitor.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2019 Mar 22;11(9):9283-9290. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

College of Materials Science and Engineering , Donghua University , Shanghai 201620 , China.

Graphene fiber-based supercapacitors (SCs) are rising as having the greatest potential for portable/wearable energy storage devices. However, their rate performance is not well pleasing, which greatly impedes their broad practical applications. Herein, three-dimensional porous carbon nanotube/reduced graphene oxide fibers were prepared by a nonsolvent-induced rapid phase separation method followed by hydrazine vapor reduction. Benefitting from their three-dimensional porous structure, large specific surface area, and high conductivity, the fabricated SC exhibits a high volume capacitance of 54.9 F cm and high energy and power densities (4.9 mW h cm and 15.5 W cm, respectively). Remarkably, the SC works well at a high scan rate of 50 V s and shows a fast frequency response with a short time constant of 78 ms. Furthermore, the fiber-shaped SC also exhibits very stable electrochemical performances when it is subjected to mechanical bending and succeeding straightening process, indicating its great potential application in flexible electronic devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.8b19359DOI Listing
March 2019

Allelic variation of low molecular weight glutenin subunits composition and the revealed genetic diversity in durum wheat ( L. ssp. (Desf)).

Breed Sci 2018 Dec 17;68(5):524-535. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, Hubei, China.

Low molecular weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS) play an important role in determining the bread-making characteristics of dough in the end-use quality of wheat. In this study, A total of 149 worldwide-originated durum wheat were used to analyze the composition of LMW-GS using MALDI-TOF-MS. Based on the allelic variation of glutenin subunits, the genetic diversity was evaluated for the 149 durum wheat. Five types of alleles were identified at the locus with , , , and accounting for 43.0%, 16.1%, 12.8%, 10.1% and 7.4 % of the accessions, respectively. Five types of alleles were identified at the locus: (60.4%), (6.0%), (6.0%), (2.7%) and (0.7%). Two novel alleles encoding abnormal subunits 40500 Da and 41260 Da were identified at the and loci, respectively. Further studies are needed to match these novel alleles to previously discovered novel alleles. Moreover, the genetic diversity analysis indicated that great genetic variation existed in durum wheat among encoding loci of glutenin subunits, released periods of varieties and different geographical origins. The results provide more important information of potential germplasm for the improvement of durum wheat and common wheat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1270/jsbbs.18085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6345234PMC
December 2018

New insights into the evolution of wheat avenin-like proteins in wild emmer wheat ().

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 12 10;115(52):13312-13317. Epub 2018 Dec 10.

Australia-China Joint Centre for Wheat Improvement, Western Australian State Agriculture Biotechnology Centre, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, WA 6150, Australia;

Fifteen full-length wheat grain avenin-like protein coding genes () were identified on chromosome arms 7AS, 4AL, and 7DS of bread wheat with each containing five genes. Besides the a- and b-type ALPs, a c type was identified in the current paper. Both a and b types have two subunits, named x and y types. The five genes on each of the three chromosome arms consisted of two x-type genes, two y-type genes, and one c-type gene. The a-type genes were typically of 520 bp in length, whereas the b types were of 850 bp in length, and the c type was of 470 bp in length. The gene transcript levels were significantly up-regulated in f. sp. -infected wheat grain caryopsis at early grain filling. Wild emmer wheat [(WEW), ] populations were focused on in our paper to identify allelic variations of genes and to study the influence of natural selection on certain alleles. Consequently, 25 alleles were identified for , 13 alleles were identified for , 7 alleles were identified for , and 4 alleles were identified for Correlation studies on gene diversity and ecological stresses suggested that environmental factors contribute to the polymorphism formation in WEW. Many allelic variants of in the endosperm of WEW are not present in bread wheat and therefore could be utilized in breeding bread wheat varieties for better quality and elite plant defense characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1812855115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6310801PMC
December 2018

NAM gene allelic composition and its relation to grain-filling duration and nitrogen utilisation efficiency of Australian wheat.

PLoS One 2018 15;13(10):e0205448. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

Australia China Centre for Wheat Improvement, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia.

Optimising nitrogen fertiliser management in combination with using high nitrogen efficient wheat cultivars is the most effective strategy to maximise productivity in a cost-efficient manner. The present study was designed to investigate the associations between nitrogen utilisation efficiency (NUtE) and the allelic composition of the NAM genes in Australian wheat cultivars. As results, the non-functional NAM-B1 allele was more responsive to the nitrogen levels and increased NUtE significantly, leading to a higher grain yield but reduced grain protein content. Nitrogen application at different developmental stages (mid-tillering, booting, and flowering) did not show significant differences in grain yield and protein content. The NAM-A1 allelic variation is significantly associated with the length of the grain-filling period. While the NAM-A1 allele a was associated with a short to moderate grain-filling phase, the alleles c and d were related to moderate to long grain-filling phase. Thus, selection of appropriate combinations of NAM gene alleles can fine-tune the duration of growth phases affecting sink-source relationships which offers an opportunity to develop high NUtE cultivars for target environments.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0205448PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6188794PMC
March 2019

Contributions of TaSUTs to grain weight in wheat under drought.

Plant Mol Biol 2018 Nov 4;98(4-5):333-347. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch, WA, 6150, Australia.

Key Message: The homologous genes to OsSUT1-5 in wheat were identified and detailed analysed. TaSUT1 was the predominant sucrose transporter group and it illustrated the genotypic variations towards drought during grain filling. Sucrose transporters (SUT) play crucial roles in wheat stem water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) remobilization to grain. To determine the major functional SUT gene groups in shoot parts of wheat during grain development, drought tolerant varieties, Westonia and Kauz, were investigated in field drought experiments. Fourteen homologous genes to OsSUT1-5 were identified on five homeologous groups, namely TaSUT1_4A, TaSUT1_4B, TaSUT1_4D; TaSUT2_5A, TaSUT2_5B, TaSUT2_5D; TaSUT3_1A, TaSUT3_1D; TaSUT4_6A, TaSUT4_6B, TaSUT4_6D; TaSUT5_2A, TaSUT5_2B, and TaSUT5_2D, and their gene structures were analysed. Wheat plants above the ground were harvested from pre-anthesis to grain maturity and the stem, leaf sheath, rachis, lemma and developing grain were used for analysing TaSUT gene expression. Grain weight, thousand grain weight, kernel number per spike, biomass and stem WSC were characterized. The study showed that among the five TaSUT groups, TaSUT1 was the predominant sucrose transporting group in all organs sampled, and the expression was particularly high in the developing grain. In contrast to TaSUT1, the gene expression levels of TaSUT2, TaSUT3 and TaSUT4 were lower, except for TaSUT3 which showed preferential expression in the lemma before anthesis. The TaSUT5 gene group was very weakly expressed in all tissues. The upregulated gene expression of TaSUT1 Westonia type in stem and grain reveal a crucial role in stem WSC remobilization to grain under drought. The high TaSUT1 gene expression and the significant correlations with thousand grain weight (TGW) and kernel number per spike demonstrated the contribution in Kauz's high grain yield in an irrigated environment and high TGW in Westonia under drought stress. Further molecular level identification is required for gene marker development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11103-018-0782-1DOI Listing
November 2018

Wheat grain protein accumulation and polymerization mechanisms driven by nitrogen fertilization.

Plant J 2018 12 23;96(6):1160-1177. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, School of Veterinary and Life Science, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, 6150, Australia.

In wheat (Triticum aestivum) grain yield and grain protein content are negatively correlated, making the simultaneous increase of the two traits challenging. Apart from genetic approaches, modification of nitrogen fertilization offers a feasible option to achieve this aim. In this study, a range of traits related to nitrogen-use efficiency in six Australian bread wheat varieties were investigated under different nitrogen treatments using 3-year multisite field trials. Changes in the individual storage protein composition were detected by high-performance liquid chromatography. Our results indicated that wheat grain yield and grain protein content reacted similarly to nitrogen availability, with grain yield being slightly more sensitive than grain protein content, and that genotype is a vital determinant of grain protein yield. Measurement of the glutamine synthetase activity of flag leaves and developing grains revealed that high nitrogen availability prompted the participation of glutamine in biological processes. In addition, a more significant accumulation of gluten macropolymer was observed under the high-nitrogen treatment from 21 days post-anthesis, and the underlying mechanism was elucidated by a comparative proteomics study. A yeast two-hybrid experiment confirmed this mechanism. The results of this study revealed that peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase (PPIase) was SUMOylated with the assistance of small ubiquitin-related modifier 1 and that high nitrogen availability facilitated this connection for the subsequent protein polymerization. Additionally, luminal-binding protein 2 in the endoplasmic reticulum played a similar role to PPIase in the aggregation of protein under high-nitrogen conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tpj.14096DOI Listing
December 2018

Effects of high-molecular-weight glutenin subunit combination in common wheat on the quality of crumb structure.

J Sci Food Agric 2019 Mar 19;99(4):1501-1508. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

College of Life Science, Key Laboratory of Genetics and Biotechnology, College of Life Science, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China.

Background: High-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs) have important effects on bread-making quality. Allelic variations of HMW-GS in bread wheat varieties contribute in different ways to dough properties and bread volume. However, no systematic analysis has been done on the effects of allelic variation on bread-crumb structure, an important parameter when evaluating bread-making quality. In this study, seven Glu-1 deletion lines and one intact line harboring different encoding loci and derived from a cross between two spring wheat cultivars were used to investigate the contribution of a single Glu-1 locus, or combination of Glu-1 loci, to the crumb structure.

Results: Deletion of HMW-GS locus combinations resulted in a decline in slice size, brightness, and fineness of the bread crumb. A desirable crumb structure correlated well with preferred subunit combinations: high levels of GMPs, superior dough properties, and loaf volume. The effects of the HMW-GS combinations were ranked as Dx5 + Dy10 > Bx17 + By18 > Ax1 + Null. The Ax1 + Null allele affected the crumb structure by interacting with the Bx17 + By18 or Dx5 + Dy10.

Conclusion: High-molecular-weight glutenin subunits had significant effects on the loaf volume and crumb structure; varying effects from different subunit combinations were observed. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.9323DOI Listing
March 2019

Genome mapping of seed-borne allergens and immunoresponsive proteins in wheat.

Sci Adv 2018 08 17;4(8):eaar8602. Epub 2018 Aug 17.

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway.

Wheat is an important staple grain for humankind globally because of its end-use quality and nutritional properties and its adaptability to diverse climates. For a small proportion of the population, specific wheat proteins can trigger adverse immune responses and clinical manifestations such as celiac disease, wheat allergy, baker's asthma, and wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA). Establishing the content and distribution of the immunostimulatory regions in wheat has been hampered by the complexity of the wheat genome and the lack of complete genome sequence information. We provide novel insights into the wheat grain proteins based on a comprehensive analysis and annotation of the wheat prolamin Pfam clan grain proteins and other non-prolamin allergens implicated in these disorders using the new International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium bread wheat reference genome sequence, RefSeq v1.0. Celiac disease and WDEIA genes are primarily expressed in the starchy endosperm and show wide variation in protein- and transcript-level expression in response to temperature stress. Nonspecific lipid transfer proteins and α-amylase trypsin inhibitor gene families, implicated in baker's asthma, are primarily expressed in the aleurone layer and transfer cells of grains and are more sensitive to cold temperature. The study establishes a new reference map for immunostimulatory wheat proteins and provides a fresh basis for selecting wheat lines and developing diagnostics for products with more favorable consumer attributes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aar8602DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6097586PMC
August 2018

A Genome-Wide Association Study Reveals a Rich Genetic Architecture of Flour Color-Related Traits in Bread Wheat.

Front Plant Sci 2018 3;9:1136. Epub 2018 Aug 3.

National Wheat Improvement Center, Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China.

Flour color-related traits, including brightness (L), redness (a), yellowness (b) and yellow pigment content (YPC), are very important for end-use quality of wheat. Uncovering the genetic architecture of these traits is necessary for improving wheat quality by marker-assisted selection (MAS). In the present study, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed on a collection of 166 bread wheat cultivars to better understand the genetic architecture of flour color-related traits using the wheat 90 and 660 K SNP arrays, and 10 allele-specific markers for known genes influencing these traits. Fifteen, 28, 25, and 32 marker-trait associations (MTAs) for L, a, b, and YPC, respectively, were detected, explaining 6.5-20.9% phenotypic variation. Seventy-eight loci were consistent across all four environments. Compared with previous studies, , and the 1B•1R translocation controlling flour color-related traits were confirmed, and four loci were novel. Two and 11 loci explained much more phenotypic variation of a and YPC than phytoene synthase 1 gene (), respectively. Sixteen candidate genes were predicted based on biochemical information and bioinformatics analyses, mainly related to carotenoid biosynthesis and degradation, terpenoid backbone biosynthesis and glycolysis/gluconeogenesis. The results largely enrich our knowledge of the genetic basis of flour color-related traits in bread wheat and provide valuable markers for wheat quality improvement. The study also indicated that GWAS was a powerful strategy for dissecting flour color-related traits and identifying candidate genes based on diverse genotypes and high-throughput SNP arrays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01136DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085589PMC
August 2018

Impact of mid-season sulphur deficiency on wheat nitrogen metabolism and biosynthesis of grain protein.

Sci Rep 2018 02 6;8(1):2499. Epub 2018 Feb 6.

State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, School of Veterinary and Life Science, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, 6150, Australia.

Wheat (Triticum aestivum) quality is mainly determined by grain storage protein compositions. Sulphur availability is essential for the biosynthesis of the main wheat storage proteins. In this study, the impact of different sulphur fertilizer regimes on a range of agronomically important traits and associated gene networks was studied. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to analyse the protein compositions of grains grown under four different sulphur treatments. Results revealed that sulphur supplementation had a significant effect on grain yield, harvest index, and storage protein compositions. Consequently, two comparative sulphur fertilizer treatments (0 and 30 kg ha sulphur, with 50 kg ha nitrogen) at seven days post-anthesis were selected for a transcriptomics analysis to screen for differentially expressed genes (DEGs) involved in the regulation of sulphur metabolic pathways. The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium chromosome survey sequence was used as reference. Higher sulphur supply led to one up-regulated DEG and sixty-three down-regulated DEGs. Gene ontology enrichment showed that four down-regulated DEGs were significantly enriched in nitrogen metabolic pathway related annotation, three of which were annotated as glutamine synthetase. The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment identified three significantly enriched pathways involved in nitrogen and amino acid metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-20935-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5802717PMC
February 2018

How exogenous nitric oxide regulates nitrogen assimilation in wheat seedlings under different nitrogen sources and levels.

PLoS One 2018 10;13(1):e0190269. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

School of Veterinary and Life Science, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

Nitrogen (N) is one of the most important nutrients for plants and nitric oxide (NO) as a signaling plant growth regulator involved in nitrogen assimilation. Understanding the influence of exogenous NO on nitrogen metabolism at the gene expression and enzyme activity levels under different sources of nitrogen is vitally important for increasing nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). This study investigated the expression of key genes and enzymes in relation to nitrogen assimilation in two Australian wheat cultivars, a popular high NUE cv. Spitfire and a normal NUE cv. Westonia, under different combinations of nitrogen and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) as the NO donor. Application of NO increased the gene expressions and activities of nitrogen assimilation pathway enzymes in both cultivars at low levels of nitrogen. At high nitrogen supplies, the expressions and activities of N assimilation genes increased in response to exogenous NO only in cv. Spitfire but not in cv. Westonia. Exogenous NO caused an increase in leaf NO content at low N supplies in both cultivars, while under high nitrogen treatments, cv. Spitfire showed an increase under ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) treatment but cv. Westonia was not affected. N assimilation gene expression and enzyme activity showed a clear relationship between exogenous NO, N concentration and N forms in primary plant nitrogen assimilation. Results reveal the possible role of NO and different nitrogen sources on nitrogen assimilation in Triticum aestivum plants.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190269PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5761883PMC
February 2018

Protein interactions during flour mixing using wheat flour with altered starch.

Food Chem 2017 Sep 23;231:247-257. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, 90, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia. Electronic address:

Wheat grain proteins responses to mixing and thermal treatment were investigated using Mixolab-dough analysis systems with flour from two cultivars, Ventura-26 (normal amylose content) and Ventura-19 (reduced amylose content). Size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography (SE-HPLC) and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DGE) analysis revealed that, stress associated and metabolic proteins largely interacted with dough matrix of Ventura-26 after 26min (56°C); gliadins, avenin-like b proteins, LMW-GSs, and partial globulins showed stronger interactions within the dough matrix of Ventura-26 at 32min/C3 (80°C), thereafter, however, stronger protein interactions were observed within the dough matrix of Ventura-19 at 38min/C4 (85°C) and 43min (80°C). Thirty-seven proteins associated with changes in dough matrix due to reduced amylose content were identified by mass spectrometry and mainly annotated to the chromosome group 1, 4, and 6. The findings provide new entry points for modifying final product attributes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.03.115DOI Listing
September 2017
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