PAU Develops a Wheat Variety to Reduce Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risks

The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana, known for its role in the Green Revolution, has developed a new variety of wheat called PBW RS1. This wheat variety has a high amylose starch content, which is known to reduce the risks of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Chapatis made from PBW RS1 release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream, resulting in a lower glycemic index and increased feelings of satiety. PBW RS1 has similar total starch content to other wheat varieties but has significantly higher resistant starch content and amylose content. Resistant starch helps in reducing the prevalence of diet-related diseases like obesity and type-2 diabetes. 

It took 10 years to the team of wheat breeders led by Dr. V S Sohu to develop this wheat variety. However, PBW RS1 has a lower average grain yield compared to other varieties, posing a challenge for its cultivation by farmers. PAU's vice-chancellor has requested the Punjab government to publicize PBW RS1 flour as a product with heightened medicinal and nutritional significance, which could fetch a higher price in the market. The seeds for the new variety will be made available to farmers in September for cultivation in the upcoming rabi season. PBW RS1 is also resistant to yellow rust and moderately resistant to brown rust fungal diseases.

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