Research student profile: Angela Dennett

Project title

Genetic basis of bread-making quality in triticale

Project overview

Triticale (X Triticosecale Whittmack) is a cross between durum wheat and rye. My project investigates the genetics behind the quality of triticale flour compared to wheat flour.

Triticale generally grows better than wheat in much of Australia's winter cropping zones, but bread and other products made from triticale flour are not as marketable as wheat flour. My project investigates the genetic mechanisms behind this problem to try and find a way to make triticale flour more useful.

Some of the material I am working with contains a natural translocation from bread wheat which we are hoping will increase the quality of triticale flour. I will be comparing this material with normal triticales. Other parts of the project will require DNA mapping and making primary triticales (crossing durum wheat and cereal rye to create brand new triticale plants). To assess quality I am using techniques designed for testing wheat quality including SDS-sedimentation, falling number, NIRS and (unsurprisingly) actually baking bread!

The main outcome of this work will be to inform triticale breeders of the quality traits they should focus on in their breeding programs to increase the value of triticale in the market. If triticale becomes truly competitive with wheat in terms of quality it may become the preferred crop for marginal agricultural lands and thus increase global grain production: essential to feeding an ever-growing and already hungry global population!


I was born and grew up in Sydney but always had a love of the country. My degree is a BScAgr from the University of Sydney.

I am studying my PhD with an industry funded scholarship from the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

I am also currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Enterprise at the University of Sydney on a Commonwealth Government Scholarship. This course will give me a basic understanding of how to commercialise my research or to go into business when I complete my degree.

As an undergraduate I was honoured to be listed on the Dean’s List from 2003 to 2006 and be awarded various prizes for undergraduate subjects throughout my degree. I graduated with the University Medal.

In 2007 I spent 2 weeks working at CIMMYT in Mexico (a Spanish acronym for the International Centre for the Improvement of Wheat and Maize). I learnt so much simply working alongside the head durum wheat and triticale breeder!

In 2008 I spent 2 weeks working at the bread quality laboratory at the I.A. Watson Grains Research Centre in Narrabri, NSW. In 2009 I presented some preliminary results at the International Triticale Symposium held at CIMMYT. Over the last few years I have also had the privilege of speaking to high school and undergraduate student groups about my PhD including at Agricultural Shows, in lecture theatres and even at a school assembly.

In 2009 I hope to complete a Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Enterprise. The course will give me a basic understanding of how to go into business when I complete my degree and help get the benefits of triticale out into the marketplace.


  • Schofield P.R., Dennett A., Howes N.K. and Chin J. (2008) Antibodies as a breeding aid in the production of novel designer wheats with unique health attributes. In 'Proceedings of the 58th Australian Cereal Chemistry Conference'. (Eds JF Panozzo, CK Black) pp. 91-94. (ACCC DownUnder Section: Surfers Paradise, Australia).
  • Dennett A.L., Roake J.R., Schofield P.R., Chin J. and Howes N.K. (2009) Starch swelling power and amylose content of triticale and Triticum timopheveii germplasm. Journal of Cereal Science, accepted, pending publication.
  • Dennett A.L., Trethowan R., Roake J.R. (2009) Bread making potential of selected Australian triticale varieties and elite breeding lines. In ‘Proceedings of the 7th International Triticale Symposium’ (Ciudad Obregon, Mexico).



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