Total phenolic acid and policosanol contents and compositions of bran from an Italian bread wheat variety Pegaso and its 11 near-isogenic lines were measured. The near-isogenic wheat lines differed at one or more loci coding for storage proteins. The genetic variation included deletions, additions and/or combinations of variations. Almost 95% or more of phenolic acids were in the bound form. Ferulic acid was the predominant bound phenolic acid present in wheat bran samples. Other phenolic acids were p-coumaric, vanillic and syringic acids. Tetracosanol, docosanol, hexacosanol, octacosanol, tricosanol and heneicosanol were found as major policosanol compounds in their decreasing order. Highly significant genotypic differences were observed in total phenolic acid and policosanol concentrations. None of the genetic lines had higher phenolic acid contents than the parent line Pegaso, whereas some of the lines had more policosanol levels. In general, both total phenolic acid composition and contents were higher with genetic lines that varied at Glu-1 loci with 2 + Dy high molecular weight glutenin subunit (HMW-GS) (Pegaso 184), variation at Gli-D2 loci (Pegaso 219) and single null A1 (variation at Gli-1/Glu-3 loci; Pegaso 30). Highest total policosanol content was observed with the double null at G1u-A1/Glu-D1 loci (Pegaso 236). These findings may lead to new opportunities for wheat breeders and eventually commercial wheat growers to promote the production of wheat with enhanced levels of health beneficial compounds. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.