Simultaneously identify the gluten peptides that are most active in activating the human immune system

by luciano

The method aims to identify, through the use of specific antibodies, the most toxic peptides instead of, as with the usual methods used today, the total gluten content. Considering that the research is also focused on producing grains with smaller amounts of toxic peptides, as well as using specific pools of enzymes / bacteria / etc in the preparation of products with the same purpose, the possibility of identifying and “weighing” only the presence, in the final product, more active peptides become a very useful tool. The highlighted study traces the history of the methods used to quantify gluten in food and presents advantages and limitations of the new method. All the methods mentioned, including the new method, have been developed to be able to certify whether a food is safe for celiacs or not, but the new methods become even more interesting for non-celiac and / or pre-celiac gluten sensitive subjects. The toxic fraction harmful to celiacs is the same as in people who are sensitive to gluten NOT celiac (1) but has a very different and less harmful impact: the new method is, therefore, very useful also in this case with the advantage of being able to have a greater tolerance in the result.


“Techniques that allow for the simultaneous detection of multiple different peptides are avail able, and are making their way into the field of food allergen detection. Another interesting possibility in gluten detection with the use of a multiplex immunoassay is to narrow down the focus even further to the harmful gluten epitopes. If antibodies were raised against the most relevant gluten epitopes, the detection of these specific epitopes could prove more relevant than detecting the total gluten content. A multiplex immunoassay can be updated by adding antibodies against more epitopes, and therefore can keep up with our increasing knowledge on harmful gluten epitopes. Also, by combining antibodies against the most relevant epitopes in a single detection method, the possibility of a false negative result decreases. Van den Broeck et al have investigated the possibilities of breeding a wheat variety with reduced CD-epitopes, based on small varieties in amino acid sequences between different gluten peptides (van den Broeck et al., 2011). If such a wheat variety could be bred, quantifying the total gluten content of food products containing this variety would be less appropriate. However, a detection method that can detect the presence of the harmful epitopes in these products would be very welcome. If the obstacles for developing a multiplex immunoassay can be overcome, this detection method would help providing consumers with more accurate food labels. This would further improve both food safety and the variety of choice in food products for CD patients everywhere”.


Immunochemical Detection Methods for Gluten in Food Products: Where Do We Go from Here?


(1) – Gluten Immunogenic Peptides as Standard for the Evaluation of Potential Harmful Prolamin Content in Food and Human Specimen.

Ángel Cebolla , María de Lourdes Moreno , Laura Coto and Carolina Sousa

Published: 5 December 2018