Wheat (Triticum aestivum
L.) grain quality is determined by multiple physical and chemical attributes. However, previous studies mainly focused on protein quantity and composition, which may not be adequate for understanding grain quality, especially end-use quality. Field experiments were conducted at two locations for two years to better understand how and to what extent water and nitrogen (N) availability affect flour end-use quality. Four drought stress levels (i.e., mild, moderate, severe, and well-watered) and four N rates (i.e., zero, low, medium, and high) were applied to two spring wheat cultivars (i.e., Dayn and Egan). Evaluated end-use quality traits, including milling quality, mixograph parameters, flour protein and gluten contents, solvent retention capacity (SRC), and baking quality. Most end-use quality parameters were not significantly different between the well-watered treatment and mild drought stress in both cultivars. Nitrogen availability above the low rate (168 kg N ha−1
) failed to further improve most end-use quality traits in either cultivar. Among all the end-use quality traits, lactic acid SRC may be a reliable indicator of flour end-use quality. These results indicate that mild drought stress (i.e., a 25% reduction in irrigation throughout the growing season) may not negatively affect end-use quality and excessive N fertilization offers minimal improvement in end-use quality. Such information could facilitate the development of irrigation and fertilization guidelines targeting at grain quality.
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