Starches from 3 common wheats and 10 durum wheats were isolated using a method causing little starch damage and annealing. Durum wheat starches contained 0.21-0.29% ash, 0.44-0.57% protein, 0.39-0.54% lipid, and 26.2-28.5% amylose. Wide angle X-ray diffraction measurements revealed A-type diffraction patterns. Durum wheat starches gelatinised over a broad temperature range (12.5 degrees C) around 55.5 degrees C (peak temperature), as measured with Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) (starch/water = 1/2; heating rate = 4 degrees C/min). Under the experimental conditions, swelling power was typically 11.3 g/g and amylose leaching during gelatinisation was ca. 17.2%. The granule size distributions showed a large heterogeneity within the starches of the durum wheat family. Clear differences were found in the gelatinisation behaviour of durum and common wheat starches. Earlier swelling of the common wheat starches during gelatinisation and the larger enthalpy of amylose-lipid endothermic transition (ca. 1.3 mJ/mg) in the DSC for durum wheat starches can be explained in terms of true lipid contents and levels of amylose-lipid inclusion complexes. Other findings, such as the earlier gelatinisation behaviour of durum wheat starches revealed by DSC, cannot be explained in that way. Differences in starch double helix content between the two wheat families were found.