Healthy and Colourful Wheat Developed by Indian Agri Scientists

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Healthy and Colourful Wheat Developed by Indian Agri Scientists

The varieties have been developed using classic biotechnology tools

AgriNation News Network

New Delhi, 11 May 2019

Soon, you can enjoy breads in different colours say blue, black or purple and stay healthy. Claimed to be packed with more health as compared to normal wheat, scientists at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) in Mohali, a lab under the Department of Biotechnology, have developed coloured wheat varieties.

The team of Agri biotechnologists at NABI is led by Monika Garg.

Scientists had been working for nearly a decade on developing these coloured varieties and found that they adapt well to local climatic conditions and produce satisfactory yield levels.

The scientists said, “the wheat varieties – which could be in blue, purple or black colour – will soon be commercially available in the country and food manufactured from these coloured grains will have more health benefits than those made out of the ‘normal’ amber wheat.

National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) has already transferred the technology to private companies for commercial use.

“However, the technology has not been yet been released to individual farmers as they may find it difficult to sell them, at least for the time being,” said Garg.

How does wheat get colour?

Common wheat varieties grown all over the world are white (or amber) in colour. The coloured varieties get their colour from natural antioxidants abundantly present in fruits such as blueberries, blackberries and jamun. The varieties have been developed using classic biotechnology tools that are commonly used by plant breeders.

Health Benefits of Coloured Wheat variety

Black wheat packs 28 times more anthocyanins than the conventional one. It may help prevent fat deposition, control glucose levels, improve insulin tolerance and lower blood cholesterol, as indicated by mouse studies at NABI.

Besides anthocyanins, the varieties have relatively higher levels of proteins and essential micronutrients such as zinc. The antioxidants present may also help ward off ageing, obesity and diabetes.