Institute of Crop Science, NARO

Division of Wheat and Barley Research

In order to raise the self-sufficiency rate set by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) from 40% to 45% by 2016, the current production for wheat has to be increased from 810,000 tons to 950,000 tons, and barley production from 180,000 tons to 220,000 tons. Towards this goal, we are breeding varieties of wheat and barley with processing suitability that will meet the needs of consumers particularly for the eastern part of Japan such as the Kanto, Tokai, and Higashiyama regions with mild temperate climate. So far, we have developed wheat varieties for suitable for noodles (Kinuazuma, Ayahikari, Aobanokoi, Fukuakari), bread (Yumeshihou), Chinese noodle ・ brewing variety (Tamaizumi), and glutinous mochi-type varieties (Akebonomochi, Uraramochi). In barley, we have developed varieties with functionalities such as high β-glucan content (Beau Fiber, Waxy Fiber), barley tea cultivar (Kashimagoru), and cultivar which barely turns brown after cooking (Harushirane). In addition, we also pursue basic research in order to facilitate the development of improved cultivars of wheat and barley. In Japan where the harvest season for wheat and barley overlaps the rainy season, we are pursuing research to develop resistance to pre-harvest sprouting of wheat. Studies on the wheat quality, we investigate amylose variation (one of flour starch component) and factors controlling good flour color. The former influences texture of noodles etc. whereas the latter is related to color of food made of wheat. For barley, processing properties of cultivars with high β-glucan content is investigated. Furthermore, although genetic transformation of wheat is relatively difficult as compared to rice, we have developed a transformation system to produce GMOs with high efficiency. We also produce transgenic wheat for functional analysis of genes.



Shunsuke ODA

Research Units