Durum wheat
Durum wheat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Tribe: Triticeae
Genus: Triticum
Species: T. durum
Binomial name
Triticum durum

Durum wheat or macaroni wheat (also spelled Durhum;[1]Triticum durum or Triticum turgidum durum[2]) is the only tetraploid species of wheat of commercial importance that is widely cultivated today.[citation needed] It was developed by artificial selection of the domesticated emmer wheat (like emmer, durum wheat is awned) strains formerly grown in Central Europe and Near East around 7000 B.C., which developed a naked, free-threshing form.[3] Durum in Latin means "hard", and the species is the hardest of all wheats. Its high protein content, as well as its strength, make durum good for special uses.[4]. Durum wheat is used extensively in breadmaking. However, it is unusual in that, despite very high protein content, it is low in desirable gluten needed to form a glutinous web necessary for bread to rise. As a result, although 100 percent durum wheat breads do exist, such as pagnotte di Enna from Sicily, as well as others, in most instances bread doughs contain only a portion of durum wheat and are supplemented substantially with commercial white flours, oftentimes those higher in gluten necessary to offset the poor gluten contribution of durum flour. When durum flour is used as the sole flour in bread, substantial additions of isolated wheat gluten are necessary to effect rising. Without it, 100 percent durum wheat breads are often heavy, with very close grain, and will split easily when risen for baking.



Durum wheat is a tetraploid wheat, having 28 chromosomes, unlike hard red winter and hard red spring wheats, which are hexaploid and have 42 chromosomes each.[5]

Durum wheat originated through intergeneric hybridization and polyploidization involving two diploid grass species: T. urartu (2n = 2x = 14, AA genome) and a B-genome diploid related to Aegilops speltoides (2n = 2x = 14, SS genome)[6] and is thus an allotetraploid species.


Pasta is made exclusively from durum semolina.

Husked but unground, or coarsely ground, it is used for semoules in the couscous of North Africa, and other parts of the Arab world. It is also used for Levantine dishes such as tabbula, kishk, kibba, bitfun and the bulghur for pilafs. In Arab cuisine, it forms the basis of many soups, gruels, stuffings, puddings and pastries.[7] When ground as fine as flour, it is used for making bread. In the Middle East, it is used for flat round breads, and in Europe and elsewhere, it can be used for pizza, torte, etc. It is not, however, good for cakes, which are made from soft wheat to prevent toughness.[7]

The use of wheat to produce pasta was described as early as the 10th century by Ibn Wahshīya of Cairo. The Arabs called the product itrīya, from which Italian sources derived the term tria (or aletria in the case of Spanish sources) during the 15th century.[7]

Another type of pasta, al-fidawsh (called "dry pasta"), was popular in al-Andalus. From there it was transmitted to Christian Spain, and it frequently appears in Hispano-Muslim cookbooks. From al-fidawsh was derived the Spanish word for noodles, fideos, and the Italian fidelli or fidellini.[7]

In the American Great Plains, durum wheat is used almost exclusively for making pasta products such as spaghetti and macaroni.[5]


Most of the durum grown today is amber durum, the grains of which are amber-colored and larger than those of other types of wheat. Durum has a yellow endosperm, which gives pasta its color. When durum is milled, the endosperm is ground into a granular product called semolina. Semolina made from durum is used for premium pastas and breads. There is also a red durum, used mostly for livestock feed.

The cultivation of durum generates greater yield than other wheats in areas of low precipitation (300-500 mm). Good yields can be obtained by irrigation, but this is rarely done. In the first half of the 20th century, the crop was widely grown in Russia.[8] Durum is one of the most important food crops in West Asia. Although the variety of the wheat there is diverse, it is not extensively grown there, and thus must be imported.[9] West amber durum produced in Canada is used mostly as semolina/pasta, but some is also exported to Italy for bread production.[10]

In the Middle East and North Africa, local bread-making accounts for half the consumption of durum. Some flour is even imported. On the other hand, many countries in Europe produce durum in commercially significant quantities.[11]

Area under cultivation and production of durum wheat
Region Area (1000 ha) Production (1000 tonnes)
Western Europe 2,490 5,730
North America 2,960 5,756
South America 102 196
Middle East 4,462 6,950
North Africa 3,290 3,214
Others 3,756 3,540
World 17,060 25,360
Source: [8]


Durum wheat is subject to four processes: cleaning, tempering, milling and purifying. First, durum wheat is cleaned to remove foreign material and shrunken and broken kernels. Then it is tempered to a moisture content, toughening the seed coat for efficient separation of bran and endosperm. Durum milling is a complex procedure involving repetitive grinding and sieving. Proper purifying results in maximum semolina yield and the least amount of bran powder.[12]

To produce bread, durum wheat is ground into flour. The flour is mixed with water to produce dough. The quantities mixed vary, depending on the acidity of the mixture. The dough is mixed with yeast and lukewarm water, and then fermented for hours. The quality of the bread produced depends on the viscoelastic properties of gluten, the protein content and protein composition.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Durham" wheat is a confusion with homonymous Durham, a common place name.[citation needed]
  2. ^ Taxon
  3. ^ "Biodiversity explorer: Triticum (genus)". http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/plants/poaceae/triticum.htm. 
  4. ^ "Wheat," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.
  5. ^ a b "Wheat", Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, p.56
  6. ^ Chromosome Sorting in Tetraploid Wheat and Its Potential for Genome Analysis Marie Kubaláková et al. Genetics. 2005 June; 170: 823–829 [1]
  7. ^ a b c d Watson, p. 20-23
  8. ^ a b Bushuk, p. 170
  9. ^ Brown, p. 95
  10. ^ Bushuk, p. 34
  11. ^ a b Matz, p. 23-5
  12. ^ Kulp, p. 650


  • A. H. D. Brown, O. H; Frankel, D. R; Marshall, J. T. The Use of Plant Genetic Resources. Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN 0521345847.
  • Bushuk, W; Rasper, Vladimir F. Wheat: Production, Properties and Quality. Springer, 1994.
  • Cohen, Daniel. Globalization and its enemies. MIT Press, 2006.
  • Griggs, C. Wilfred; Amitai-Preiss, Reuven; Morgan, David. The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy. Brill Publishers, 2000.
  • Kulp, Karel; Ponte, Joseph G. Handbook of Cereal Science and Technology, CRC Press, 2000.
  • Matz, Samuel A. Bakery technology and engineering. Springer, 1992.
  • Taylor, Julie. Muslims in Medieval Italy: The Colony at Lucera. Lexington Books, 2005.
  • Watson, Andrew. Agricultural innovation in the early Islamic world. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wishart, David J. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • durum — [door′əm, dyoor′əm, dʉr′əm] n. 〚ModL < L, neut. of durus, hard: see DURESS〛 a hard emmer wheat (Triticum durum) that yields flour and semolina used in macaroni, spaghetti, etc. * * * du·rum (do͝orʹəm, dyo͝orʹ , dûrʹ , dŭrʹ ) n. A hardy wheat… …   Universalium

  • durum — species of wheat, 1908, from L. durum, neut. of durus hard (see ENDURE (Cf. endure)). The seeds are tough …   Etymology dictionary

  • durum — dùrum m DEFINICIJA agr. vrsta pšenice koja se upotrebljava u izradi tjestenine ETIMOLOGIJA nlat. (triticum) durum: tvrda pšenica …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • durum — [door′əm, dyoor′əm, dʉr′əm] n. [ModL < L, neut. of durus, hard: see DURESS] a hard emmer wheat (Triticum durum) that yields flour and semolina used in macaroni, spaghetti, etc …   English World dictionary

  • durum — is. 1) Bir şeyin içinde bulunduğu koşulların hepsi, vaziyet, hâl, keyfiyet, mevki, pozisyon Genel Sekreter, kazadaki sıtma durumu hakkında verdiğim uzun tafsilattan pek memnun kaldı. R. N. Güntekin 2) Duruş biçimi, konum 3) Bireyin toplum… …   Çağatay Osmanlı Sözlük

  • Dürüm — Kebab dans un dürüm Le dürüm est un kebab où le pain est remplacé par une galette turque[1]. Le dürüm, mot d origine turque qui veut dire littéralement « enroulade » signifie plus globalement toute sorte de préparation enroulée da …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Dürüm — Dönerfleisch am Spieß Döner mit Pide …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dürüm — Un dürüm extendido y ya preparado para contener una porción de carne picada …   Wikipedia Español

  • dürüm — is. 1) Dürme, silindir biçiminde kıvırma 2) hlk. İçine türlü katıklar konularak sarılmış yufka ekmeği veya ince pide Birleşik Sözler dürüm dürüm dürüm ekmeği …   Çağatay Osmanlı Sözlük

  • Dürüm — A dürüm (Turkish for roll ) is a Turkish wrap having döner kebab as filling. The wrap is made from lavash or yufka flatbread, similar to the Mexican tortilla.In Belgium, it is filled with meat, and sometimes also fries and salad, topped by one of …   Wikipedia

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