The Roundup -

Durum Breeding And Low Cadmium Durum


At the EARC/MSU Extension Field Day, Dr. Mike Giroux will be speaking on durum and low cadmium durum around 1 p.m. MDT on Tuesday, July 17th. Dr. Giroux is a Professor of Wheat Genetics and Interim Department Head of the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Giroux earned a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics from the University of Florida where he studied genes limiting cornstarch biosynthesis and agronomic yield. Giroux’s current research focuses on developing durum wheat varieties adapted to Montana and on genes essential to wheat agronomic yield and product quality.

The topic Giroux will be speaking on is an important topic because durum is an essential crop to Montana farmers. The release of high yielding durum varieties with high product quality is of direct economic importance to producers.

MSU is carrying out a durum-breeding program by crossing among several different germplasm sources. The source materials include current locally adapted durum varieties, durum varieties containing value-added traits, and lines they have in development. The lines are selected for yield, major agronomic traits, seed color, disease resistance, protein strength, as well as pasta firmness and color stability. “The Bozeman based breeding efforts are relatively new, and lines from this program in the intrastate are just in their second year. Based on last year’s data, several of the lines are yield competitive with current cultivars as well as carrying one or two additional traits. The added traits in some of the advanced selections are the low cadmium trait in which harvested seed is lower in cadmium content and a gene that confers increased pasta firmness,” explained Giroux.

MSU researchers/agronomists are also researching ways to increase durum yield by modifying plant height and tilling capacity. One of their current projects involves testing semi-dwarf wheat that is taller and with greater yield capacity than current semi-dwarf durum wheat which is often too short for Montana dryland areas.

The primary goal for the durum-breeding program is to achieve high yielding, disease resistant, locally adapted durum varieties with good end product quality. “We are focused on integrating value-added traits such as increased pasta firmness and color stability in new varieties,” said Giroux.


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