Research student profile: Sahar Al-Dhaher

Project title

Properties of starch from Australians waxy wheat varieties

Project overview

Wheat starch is one of the most natural materials, and is an important component of cereal grains. It is the major source of calories and dietary energy in most food systems, including for humans. Moreover, starch is a major ingredient in the industrial production of bread, cake, biscuits, noodles, pasta, sauces, pharmaceuticals, paper, textiles and other products. Starch is in the form of semi-crystalline granule, insoluble in water, and is composed of two polymers of glucose: amylose, 20-30%, which is an essentially unbranched, and amylopectin, 70-80%in that is a large molecule with multiple branches of different length and distribution. A major source of starch is wheat, which is a hexaploid (Triticum aestivum) containing three sets of chromosomes (A,B and D genomes) and each genomes have seven chromosomes. Wheat can be divided into two genomes called waxy wheat or waxy proteins, Waxy wheat was the first developed in 1994 through conventional plant breeding in Japan then in Canada. And finally in USA. In my study I used Australian commercial soft wheat, which mutagenized with ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) to screen for the waxy character WX-A1 in 4A to produced (QA-Wx-70, QA-Wx-69, QA-Wx-1, QA-Wx-59, QA-Wx-53, QA-Wx-39, QA-Wx-83). Waxy starches (amylase free) contain essentially100% amylopectin.

The aim of my study is examine physicochemical and functional properties of starch from several waxy wheat Varieties. After isolated starch from QAL2000 and from waxy wheat varieties, I will study the physicochemical and functional properties for both type of starch.

The knowledge gained by Comparing the properties of waxy wheat starch varieties and these with normal wheat starch is useful to the industry who is concerned with the effective use of starch in food applications.

Once the waxy and normal wheat starch is isolated subsequent analysis will be undertaken to determine properties that are of interest to its industrial use. The amylose content will be determined using the iodine binding method and its swelling power determined by measuring water uptake of starch granule. The degree of crystallinity of the starch granules will be examined using Atomic force microscopy and the pasting properties of starch samples is analysed using a Ripid Visco Analyser (RVA). Also, the particle size distribution measured by Mastersizer laser diffraction instrument (Allied Mills, Sydney).

It is expected that waxy wheat starch compared to normal wheat starch will have properties favoured by industry, meaning that the waxy wheat starches will be comparatively more useful in the food applications.


I am an international student from Basra, Iraq, who finished my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture college in the Department of Food Science & Biotechnology, July 1997 at the University of Basra, where I was ranked second in Agriculture college. I have a Master of Science. Also from the Agriculture college completed in November 1999. For my masters my thesis explored the storage and partial replacement of bread crumpling on the quality of duck patties. In 2002 I was employed as a Lecturer at the University of Basra before commencing my studies at this University.

I have been granted for my Ph D. study from Iraqi Government scholarship Since September 2009.

In 1997 I achieved third rank in the Food Science examination for the students of the Iraqi universities.


  • Munir, A. Jasim and Sahar M. AL-Dhaher (2001). Preparation of duck patties and study the effect of filler material and freezing storage on quality characteristics using chemical parameters. Basra J. Agriculture Sci. Vol:27,No: 1
  • Munir, A. Jasim and Sahar M. AL-Dhaher (2002). Preparation of duck patties and study the effected of freeing storage on sensory and bacterial properties. Basra J. Agriculture Sci. Vol:28, No: 1
  • Munir, A. Jasim and Sahar M. AL-Dhaher (2002). Preparation of duck paties and study of effect of freezing storage on its chemical composition and cooking loss. Basra J Agriculture Sci. Vol: 28, No:4



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