Distinguishing between Bread Wheat and Spelt Grains Using Molecular Markers and Spectroscopy

A. Y. Curzon, K. Chandrasekhar, Y. K. Nashef, S. Abbo, D. J. Bonfil, R. Reifen, S. Bar-El, A. Avneri, R. Ben-David*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The increasing demand for spelt products requires the baking industry to develop accurate and efficient tools to differentiate between spelt and bread wheat grains. We subjected a 272-sample spelt-bread wheat set to several potential diagnostic methods. DNA markers for γ-gliadin-D (GAG56D), γ-gliadin-B (GAG56B), and the Q-gene were used, alongside phenotypic assessment of ease-of-threshing and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The GAG56B and GAG56D markers demonstrated low diagnostic power in comparison to the Q-gene genotyping, which showed full accordance with the threshing phenotype, providing a highly accurate distinction between bread wheat and spelt kernels. A highly reliable Q classification was based on a three-waveband NIR model [Kappa (0.97), R-square (0.93)], which suggested that this gene influences grain characteristics. Our data ruled out a protein concentration bias of the NIRS-based diagnosis. These findings highlight the Q gene and NIRS as important, valuable, but simple tools for distinguishing between bread wheat and spelt.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3837-3841
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • NIRS
  • Q gene
  • adulteration
  • spelt
  • wheat


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