U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Crop Sci. 48:495–506 (2008).


The solvent retention capacity (SRC) test is used to predict commercial baking performance of soft wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by measuring the capacity of flour to retain each of four solvents— water, Na2CO3, sucrose, and lactic acid— to assess overall absorption capacity, starch damage, pentosan and gliadin content, and glutenin quality, respectively. Our objectives were to determine sources of variation in the test, repeatability, and optimum scale and resource allocation needed to maximize efficiency. Duplicate SRC tests were conducted for each solvent using two flour sample sizes (5 and 0.2 g) from two field replications of each of 8 soft white spring and 16 soft white winter genotypes grown in five and three environments, respectively. We conducted ANOVAs and used variance components to assess the consistency with which genotypic differences were detected. The interactions of genotype × environment and genotype × field replication within environment were significant (P < 0.05) for most solvent and sample weight combinations. Repeatability values were high and consistent for all solvents (0.86–0.96) when 5-g samples were used, indicating that selection based on any solvent should result in gains from selection at this scale. Only lactic acid and sucrose were accurately predictive at the 0.2-g scale, limiting its utility. Repeatability values improved with increased numbers of environments, field replications, or laboratory replications; however, this may be cost prohibitive when evaluating early-generation breeding material on a large scale, especially since the magnitude of increase in predictability diminished with each additional unit.