By Addison Carroll, 2021-2024 Rockey FFAR Fellow
Strict dieters probably save the empty calories from pastas and breads for their ‘cheat’ days, but now wheat-based products can be both healthy and tasty. Historically, wheat production has primarily focused on yield – more wheat produced per hectare. Yet, the focus on increased production unintentionally resulted in reduced nutritional quality. Breads, noodles and the like are not considered to be particularly high in protein and micronutrients. Specifically, iron and zinc are the micronutrients that are most important to human health, yet are found in low quantities in wheat. Given growing threats to food and nutrition security in the face of population growth and a changing climate, scientists are tackling the challenge of producing wheat varieties that are both high yielding and rich in protein and nutritional quality.