Wheat straw is one of the major attractive resources for low-cost raw materials for renewable energy, biofuels and biochemicals. However, like other sources of lignocellulosic biomass, straw is a heterogeneous material due to its mixed origin from different tissue and cell types. Here, to examine the genotypic effects on biorefinery usage of wheat straw, straw obtained from different wheat cultivars and experimental lines was pretreated with dilute acid. Significant differences between cultivars were observed in the concentrations of glucose and toxic by-products of the liquid hydrolysates. A higher content of xylose than glucose was found in liquid hydrolysates from wheat straw, and the xylose content appeared to be affected by both environmental and genetic factors. Analysis using chromosome substitution lines of the common wheat cultivar Chinese Spring showed that chromosomes 2A and 3A from other wheat cultivars, Hope and Timstein, significantly increased the xylose content. However, no significant relationship was observed between the liquid hydrolysate xylose content and the glucose content obtained from enzymatic saccharification of the acid-insoluble residue. These results highlight the potential of wheat breeding to improve biomass-related traits in wheat straw.