• wheat;
  • bioethanol;
  • grain quality;
  • prediction;
  • ethanol yield


BACKGROUND: Following the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), there is an increasing demand for wheat grain for liquid biofuel in the UK. In order to enhance productivity of the bioethanol industry, good quality wheat must be used.

RESULTS: A total of 84 grain samples comprising 14 varieties collected from 11 sites in two harvest years were analysed for a range of grain quality parameters and ethanol yield (EY). The grain quality parameters studied were starch and protein concentration, specific weight, grain density, packing efficiency, thousand-grain weight (TGW), grain length, width, length/width ratio and hardness index. Regression analysis was used to establish the relationships between grain quality parameters and EY. Apart from grain length and density, all grain parameters had significant relationships with EY. In the order of importance, protein concentration, TGW, packing efficiency and specific weight showed good relationships with EY. All other parameters, including starch concentration, showed a poor correlation with EY. EY and the relationship with the grain parameters were affected more by environment than by variety. Some sites gave consistently higher EY than others. When site and variety were considered with TGW and protein, a good prediction of EY could be made (variance accounted for = 87%).

CONCLUSION: Combining TGW and protein concentration could be a better indicator of EY than the current practice of specific weight and protein. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry