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A study of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) seed starch concentration, composition and enzymatic hydrolysis properties



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Grain quality in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is a major factor affecting its consumption for human nutrition and health benefits. Some of the major factors affecting chickpea grain quality are: seed weight, size, colour, protein, starch and amylose concentration, and amylopectin structure. The objectives of this study were to: 1) determine variation, repeatability and genotype by environment interaction on thousand seed weight, starch, amylose and protein concentration of chickpea cultivars adapted to western Canada; 2) assess variations in global chickpea germplasm for thousand seed weight, seed size, protein, starch and amylose concentrations; and 3) characterize the desi and kabuli type chickpea for starch concentration, composition, and amylopectin structure to study their effect on starch enzymatic hydrolysis. Limited variation was observed in seed composition of chickpea cultivars adapted to the western Canadian prairies. Significant genotype by environment interaction occurred for starch, amylose, and protein (except for kabuli) concentrations, seed yield and thousand seed weight indicating that testing over a wide range of environments is needed to identify genotypes for grain quality improvement. Repeatability of starch, amylose, and protein concentrations was low and inconsistent across chickpea market classes. Broad sense heritability was higher than repeatability across all traits for all market classes implying that repeatability estimates do not set upper limits to heritability if significant genotype by environment interaction is present. The negative relationship between seed constituents and yield indicates that selection for chickpea cultivars with desired seed composition may require compromise with yield and indirect selection. All the mini core accessions that had above average seed diameter score in both desi and kabuli also had above average score for thousand seed weight. Selecting mini core with promising intrinsic and extrinsic quality characteristics may reduce yield. Slowly digestible starch was negatively correlated with hydrolysis index in both pure starch and meal starch of desi and kabuli. Amylose had a strong relationship with resistant starch but not with rate of starch hydrolysis. Genotypes with a significantly higher rate of starch hydrolysis had significantly lower 60-80 µm starch granule size volume. Amylopectin B2 chains were related to slowly digestible starch of meal (except kabuli) and extracted starch. Resistant starch positively correlated with B1 fraction of amylopectin chain length in both desi and kabuli meal starch. Our results suggest that there is no major difference between starch composition in the two chickpea market classes, although only three genotypes of each class were tested. The meal components affect the starch hydrolytic properties and the effect is genotype specific. The results also show that amylopectin structure influences starch hydrolytic properties. These observations emphasize that complete characterization of seed components is needed to obtain meaningful results regarding the desired nutritional and health benefits attributed to any grain.



starch concentration, heritability, mini core, repeatability, seed composition, starch structure, chickpea, starch enzymatic hydrolysis



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Plant Sciences


Plant Sciences


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