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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Are We on The Verge of Gluten-Free Wheat?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Can science give us gluten-free, celiac safe wheat? Researchers are developing new low toxicity wheat strains with an eye toward the gluten-free market.


    Caption: Image: CC--docbadger1

    Celiac.com 06/10/2019 - Gluten-free wheat is surely an oxymoron, right? How can wheat be gluten-free? Well, researchers are currently creating wheat strains that exclude the proteins that trigger immune reactions in people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. The result could be the first wheat that is safe for people with celiac disease.

    The omega-1,2 gliadins are a group of wheat gluten proteins that contain immunodominant epitopes for celiac disease and also have been associated with food allergies. The research team recently set out to reduce the toxicity of gliadin proteins in wheat.

    To reduce the levels of these proteins in the flour, the team used an RNA interference plasmid, which targeted a 141 bp region at the 5′ end of an omega-1,2 gliadin gene, to genetically transform a strain of bread wheat known as Triticum aestivum cv. Butte 86. They used quantitative two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry to conduct a detailed analysis of flour proteins from two transgenic lines. 

    In the first line, the omega-1,2 gliadins were missing from an otherwise normal proteome. In the second line, the team saw significant changes in the proteome, with nearly all gliadins and low molecular weight glutenin subunits (LMW-GS) missing. 

    The second line showed a rise in high molecular weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GS), with the largest increase seen in those with molecular weights slightly below the non-transgenic, possibly due to post-translational processing. The team also saw a rise in non-gluten proteins such as triticins, purinins, globulins, serpins, and alpha-amylase/protease inhibitors. 

    When tested with serum IgG and IgA antibodies from a group of celiac patients, both flour types showed reduced reactivity. Now, there's a big difference between 'reduced reactivity' and 'no reactivity,' but it's a solid step in the right direction.

    The line without omega-1,2 gliadins showed improved mixing time and tolerance, while the line missing most gluten proteins showed inferior mixing properties. 

    The data suggest that biotechnology approaches may be used to create wheat lines with reduced immunogenic potential in the context of gluten sensitivity without compromising end-use quality.

    The data say it's possible to create wheat lines with reduced gluten toxicity that are safe for people with gluten sensitivity. Such lines could give rise to celiac safe gluten-free or gluten-safe flours with excellent baking properties. Of course, such line would have to be tested on people with celiac disease. However, if celiac-safe lines can be developed, the landscape could change quickly for gluten-free bread and baked goods.

    Read more in Frontiers in Plant Science, 09 May 2019

     

    The research team included Susan B. Altenbach, Han-Chang Chang, Xuechen B. Yu, Bradford W. Seabourn, Peter H. Green and Armin Alaedini. They are variously affiliated with the Western Regional Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Albany, CA, United States; the Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States; the Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States; the Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory, Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Manhattan, KS, United States; the Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States; and the Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY, United States.


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    Guest it won't be tested enough!

    Posted

    Because modified food is the answer...... 

     

    That's all we need another modification to a grain that they will release as the miracle gluten free wheat woohoo and then many years from now we will find it caused some sort of horrible side effect.

     

    Yuck 

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    Guest Gluten Free and Healthy!

    Posted

    I bought, at an estate sale of deceased 'dooms-day preppers', a large can of wheat in seed form, packaged in 1940, never opened, and, supposedly, still capable of either sprouting and/or making flour. 

     

    What are/were the gluten levels in wheat from the 1940's, and if you don't know, where could I go to find out?  After 11 years of being gluten-free, I'm desperate for real biscuits...

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    1 hour ago, Guest Gluten Free and Healthy! said:

    I bought, at an estate sale of deceased 'dooms-day preppers', a large can of wheat in seed form, packaged in 1940, never opened, and, supposedly, still capable of either sprouting and/or making flour. 

     

    What are/were the gluten levels in wheat from the 1940's, and if you don't know, where could I go to find out?  After 11 years of being gluten-free, I'm desperate for real biscuits...

    If it is more than 20 PPM it is too much.

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    The old wheat would not be safe for celiacs, and modern wheat does contain a higher gluten content which was achieved by natural cross-breeding techniques. Wheat in the USA is currently non-GMO, although there are researchers who are trying to genetically modify a wheat that would be safe for celiacs:

     

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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