Brendan’s research aim is to improve the nutritional value of starch in wheat.

The group are developing traits known to have positive impacts for human health. For example, altering the resistant starch content in wheat grains to boost levels in foods such as bread and pasta.

Brendan’s work focuses on the initial identification and combination of potentially interesting traits in the plants.

He then uses a range of techniques to characterise how the starch has been changed. For example, using microscopy to investigate potential changes to starch granule size and shape and using sophisticated methods which can pin point any modifications to the starch polymer itself.

The research group spans both the John Innes Centre and the Quadram Institute Bioscience.

His work at the John Innes Centre in developing and characterising plant lines then leads onto work by other group members at Quadram Institute, where starch, flour and food products can be assessed for health benefits. For example, by using of model gut systems or studies involving human participants.