Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Endosperm and starch granule morphology in wild cereal relatives

  • F. M. Shapter (a1), R. J. Henry (a1) and L. S. Lee (a1)

Australia's native grass species contain a diverse array of wild cereal relatives which are adapted to a broader range of environmental conditions than current commercial cereals and may contain novel alleles which have utility in commercial production systems. Characterizing the available variation in endosperm morphology is one of the first steps towards in planta manipulation of endosperm by either the introgression of novel alleles or bioengineering cereal starch and protein. The endosperm of 19 crop wild relatives (CWR) was examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Mature caryopses were fixed, dehydrated, critical-point dried and then snap fractured transversely through the grain. Wild relatives exhibited similar types of starch granules to that of their respective cultivated species, though in general the wild species retained a greater proportion of the endosperm cell wall at maturity. The two species examined with no closely related cultivated species exhibited a rice-like endosperm. Wild sorghum relatives exhibited an abundance of endosperm variations described as variations in starch granule size, shape and surface morphology, and the distribution of protein bodies. This is particularly important because the grain of Sorghum bicolor has inherently low starch and protein digestibility. These variations within the wild relatives of commercial cereals may provide novel sources of genetic diversity for future grain improvement programmes.

Corresponding author
* Corresponding author. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

P Baldwin (2001) Starch granule-associated proteins and polypeptides: a review. Starch-Starke 53: 475503.

M Benmoussa , B Suhendra , A Aboubacar and BR Hamaker (2006) Distinctive sorghum starch granule morphologies appear to improve raw starch digestibility. Starch-Starke 58: 9299.

A Buleon , P Colonna , V Planchot and S Ball (1998) Starch granules: structure and biosynthesis. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 23: 85112.

RA Burton , H Jenner , L Carrangis , B Fahy , GB Fincher , C Hylton , DA Laurie , M Parker , D Waite , S van Wegen , T Verhoeven and K Denyer (2002) Starch granule initiation and growth are altered in barley mutants that lack isoamylase activity. The Plant Journal 31: 97112.

A Chandrashekar and H Mazhar (1999) The biochemical basis and implications of grain strength in sorghum and maize. Journal of Cereal Science 30: 193207.

J Chmelik , A Krumlova , M Budinska , T Kruml , V Psota , I Bohacenko , P Mazal and H Vydrova (2001) Comparison of size characterization of barley starch granules determined by electron and optical microscopy, low angle laser light scattering and gravitational field-flow fractionation. Journal of the Institute of Brewing 107: 1117.

H Choi , W Kim and M Shin (2004) Properties of Korean amaranth starch compared to waxy millet and waxy sorghum starches. Starch-Starke 56: 469477.

JMC Dang and L Copeland (2004) Studies of the fracture surface of rice grains using environmental scanning electron microscopy. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 84: 707713.

S de Pater , M Caspers , M Kottenhagen , H Meima , R ter Stege and N de Vetten (2006) Manipulation of starch granule size distribution in potato tubers by modulation of plastid division. Plant Biotechnology Journal 4: 123134.

SL Dillon , PK Lawrence , RJ Henry , L Ross , HJ Price and JS Johnston (2004) Sorghum laxiflorum and S. macrospermum, the Australian native species most closely related to the cultivated S. bicolor based on ITS1 and ndhF sequence analysis of 25 Sorghum species. Plant Systematics and Evolution 249: 233246.

A Donald , K Kato , P Perry and T Waigh (2001) Scattering studies of the internal structure of starch granules. Starch/Starke 53: 504512.

K Duodo , A Nunes , I Delgadillo , M Parker , E Mills , P Belton and J Taylor (2002) Effect of grain structure and cooking on Sorghum and Maize in vitro protein digestibility. Journal of Cereal Science 35: 161174.

K Duodo , J Taylor , P Belton and B Hamaker (2003) Factors affecting sorghum protein digestibility. Journal of Cereal Science 38: 117131.

C Earp , C McDonough and L Rooney (2003) Microscopy of pericarp development in the caryopsis of Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench. Journal of Cereal Science 39: 2127.

JE Fannon , JA Gray , N Gunawan , KC Huber and JN BeMiller (2004) Heterogeneity of starch granules and the effect of granule channelization on starch modification. Cellulose 11: 247254.

CS Gaines , MO Raeker , M Tilley , PL Finney , JD Wilson , DB Betchel , RJ Martin , PA Seib , GL Lookhart and T Donelson (2000) Associations of starch gel hardness, granule size, waxy allelic expression, thermal pasting, milling quality, and kernel texture of 12 soft wheat cultivars. Cereal Chemistry 77: 163186.

D Hall and J Sayre (1970) A scanning electron-microscopy study of starches. II. Cereal Starches. Journal of Texture Research 40: 256266.

R Hoover , Y Sailaja and F Sosulski (1996) Characterization of starches from wild and long grain brown rice. Food Research International 29: 99107.

KC Huber and JN BeMiller (2001) Location of sites of reaction within starch granules. Cereal Chemistry 78: 173180.

MG James , K Denyer and AM Myers (2003) Starch synthesis in the cereal endosperm. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 6: 215222.

Q Ji , RJF Oomen , JP Vincken , DN Bolam , HJ Gilbert , L Suurs and RGF Visser (2004) Reduction of starch granule size by expression of an engineered tandem starch-binding domain in potato plants. Plant Biotechnology Journal 2: 251260.

N Lindeboom , PR Chang and RT Tyler (2004) Analytical, biochemical and physicochemical aspects of starch granule size, with emphasis on small granule starches: A review. Starch-Starke 56: 8999.

CM McDonough , CD Floyd , RD Waniska and LW Rooney (2004) Effect of accelerated aging on maize, sorghum and sorghum meal. Journal of Cereal Science 39: 351361.

M Oria , B Hamaker , J Axtell and C Huang (2000) A highly digestible sorghum mutant cultivar exhibits a unique folded structure of endosperm protein bodies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 97: 50655070.

ML Parker , A Ng and KW Waldron (2005) The phenolic acid and polysaccharide composition of cell walls of bran layers of mature wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Avalon) grains. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 85: 25392547.

M Peng , M Gao , E-S Abdel-Aal , P Huel and R Chibbar (1999) Separation and characterisation of A-type and B-type starch granules in wheat endosperm. Cereal Chemistry 76: 375379.

MO Raeker , CS Gaines , PL Finney and T Donelson (1998) Granule size and distribution and chemical composition of starches from 12 soft wheat cultivars. Cereal Chemistry 75: 721728.

S Rahman , Z Li , I Batey , MP Cochrane , R Appels and M Morell (2000) Genetic alteration of starch functionality in wheat. Journal of Cereal Science 31: 91110.

K Sandhu , N Singh and M Kaur (2004) Characteristics of the different corn types and their grain fractions: physiochemical, thermal, morphological, and rheological properties of starch. Journal of Food Engineering 64: 119127.

N Singh and L Kaur (2004) Morphological, thermal, rheological and retrogradation properties of potato starch fractions varying in granule size. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 84: 12411252.

A Smith (2001) The biosynthesis of starch granules. Biomacromolecules 2: 335341.

B Svihus , A Uhlen and O Harstad (2005) Effect of starch granule structure, associated components and processing on nutritive value of cereal starch: a review. Animal Feed Science and Technology 122: 303320.

T Tateoka (1962) Starch grains of endosperm in grass systematics. Botany Magazine Tokyo 75: 377383.

J Taylor , L Novellie and W Liebenberg (1985) Protein body degradation in the starchy endosperm of germinating sorghum. Journal of Experimental Botany 36: 12871295.

T Tesso , G Ejeta , A Chandrashekar , CP Huang , A Tandjung , M Lewamy , JD Axtell and BR Hamaker (2006) A novel modified endosperm texture in a mutant high-protein digestibility/high-lysine grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench). Cereal Chemistry 83: 194201.

R Tester , J Karkalas and X Qi (2004) Starch – composition, fine structure and architecture. Journal of Cereal Science 39: 151165.

K Tomlinson and K Denyer (2003) Starch synthesis in the cereal grains. Advances in Botanical Research 40: 161.

L Wang and Y-J Wang (2004) Application of high-intensity ultrasound and surfactants in rice starch isolation. Cereal Chemistry 81: 140144.

G Zhang and B Hamaker (1998) Low α-amylase starch digestibility of cooked sorghum flours and the effect of protein. Cereal Chemistry 75: 710713.

G Bultosa , AN Hall and JRN Taylor (2002) Physico-chemical characterization of grain tef Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter starch. Starch-Starke 54: 461468.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Plant Genetic Resources
  • ISSN: 1479-2621
  • EISSN: 1479-263X
  • URL: /core/journals/plant-genetic-resources
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 19 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 113 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.