Wheat has served as a key species for characterising fundamental aspects of mitochondrial biochemistry and respiratory physiology. Respiratory traits are linked to many important agronomic properties, so identifying the proteins that carry out these molecular processes would define a new set of targets for wheat breeding. To date, systematic proteomic investigations into wheat mitochondria have lagged behind other species, due to the size and complexity of the wheat genome. However this situation is changing with new sequence data increasing the power of proteomics applied to wheat. In this review, we argue that the impact of wheat mitochondrial proteomics on wheat respiratory traits can be improved through integrating data from current proteomics approaches with knowledge from the wheat respiration literature. We present a historical overview of biochemical and physiological studies of mitochondrial respiration in wheat, highlighting respiratory properties linked to. agronomically important traits, such as biomass production, stress tolerance and cytoplasmic male sterility. Also, we summarise the current status of the wheat mitochondrial proteome and present a predicted set of 2000 probable mitochondrial proteins from Triticum urartu. Finally, we present a set of strategies outlining how future proteomics experiments can be applied to wheat mitochondria, by targeting studies to build on pre-existing knowledge. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.