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PAU develops PBW-RS1 Wheat Variety to tackle type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana renowned for its pivotal role in the Green Revolution by producing high-yielding strains, has developed a new wheat variety called PBW RS1. This variety boasts high amylose starch content, which is known to minimize risks of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. PAU's research focus appears to be shifting from “quantity” to “quality” and from “food security” to “nutritional security.”

About PBW RS1 Wheat Variety: PBW RS1, where RS stands for resistant starch, has been developed over a period of ten years by a team of wheat breeders led by Dr. V. S. Sohu, head of the department of plant breeding and genetics. The high amylose and resistant starch content ensures that glucose is delivered into the circulation more slowly, preventing an immediate spike in glucose levels. This slower digestion also enhances satiety, potentially reducing the quantity of chapatis consumed.

Nutritional and Health Benefits:

  • Glycemic Index and Satiety: Chapatis and Biscuits made from PBW RS1 have a way lower glycemic index, i.e. 43.1 and 32.4 respectively as compared to 65+ for most commodity wheat varieties, due to the starch’s decreased digestibility. This helps reduce the incidence of diet-related disorders such as obesity and diabetes, particularly type 2.

  • Resistant Starch Content: PBW RS1 has a total starch content similar to other wheat varieties (66-70%), but it possesses 30.3% resistant starch compared to only 7.5-10% in other varieties. The high amylose/resistant starch ratio translates to more dietary fiber, benefiting bakers and food processors who can make products without adding fiber from other sources.

  • Taste and Texture: The taste, color, and texture of chapatis made from PBW RS1 are the same as those made from normal wheat varieties, making it a viable alternative for consumers.

PAU vice-chancellor Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal emphasized the importance of a start towards nutritional security and suggested marketing PBW RS1 flour as having “high medicinal and nutritional value.”

While PBW RS1 may have a lower yield compared to other wheat varieties, its significant health benefits, similar taste and texture to regular wheat, and disease resistance make it a promising option for addressing nutritional security. With proper marketing and consumer awareness, PBW RS1 could become a valuable addition to the agricultural landscape, promoting better health outcomes and sustainable farming practices.

Additional Information:

  • Type 2 Diabetes: This condition affects how the body uses sugar (glucose) for energy, leading to high levels of blood sugar if not treated properly. Over time, it can cause serious damage to the body, especially nerves and blood vessels.

  • Glycemic Index: The glycemic index (GI) measures how much specific foods increase blood sugar levels. Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic and ranked on a scale of 0–100. The lower the GI, the less it may affect blood sugar levels.

By focusing on developing wheat varieties like PBW RS1, PAU is contributing to a shift towards nutritional security, addressing modern health challenges while maintaining agricultural productivity.

The whole wheat flour made from this specialty wheat will be available in April 2025. Interested families can reach out on +91-8054822890 (Whatsapp) to reserve the desired quantities in advance by September 2024.


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