Wood, Jennifer A., Knights, Edmund J., Campbell, Grant M. and Choct, Mingan (2014) Differences between easy- and difficult-to-mill chickpea (Cicer arietinumL.) genotypes. Part III: free sugar and non-starch polysaccharide composition. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 94 (7). pp. 1454-1462. ISSN 0022-5142


Parts I and II of this series of papers identified several associations between the ease of milling and the chemical compositions of different chickpea seed fractions. Non-starch polysaccharides were implicated; hence, this study examines the free sugars and sugar residues.

Difficult milling is associated with: (1) lower glucose and xylose residues (less cellulose and xyloglucans) and more arabinose, rhamnose and uronic acid in the seed coat, suggesting a more flexible seed coat that resists cracking and decortication; (2) a higher content of soluble and insoluble non-starch polysaccharide fractions in the cotyledon periphery, supporting a pectic polysaccharide mechanism comprising arabinogalacturonan, homogalacturonan, rhamnogalalcturonan, and glucuronan backbone structures; (3) higher glucose and mannose residues in the cotyledon periphery, supporting a lectin-mediated mechanism of adhesion; and (4) higher arabinose and glucose residues in the cotyledon periphery, supporting a mechanism involving arabinogalactan-proteins.

This series has shown that the chemical composition of chickpea does vary in ways that are consistent with physical explanations of how seed structure and properties relate to milling behaviour. Seed coat strength and flexibility, pectic polysaccharide binding, lectins and arabinogalactan-proteins have been implicated. Increased understanding in these mechanisms will allow breeding programmes to optimise milling performance in new cultivars.

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