The lactic acid bacteria present in the sourdough have been shown to have significant abilities to hydrolyze gluten proteins; some strains of lactic bacteria used with specific temperatures, times and concentrations can also hydrolyse the peptides most resistant to gastro-intestinal digestion. Baked products made with sourdough can therefore be considered an excellent opportunity and a valid choice for people genetically predisposed to celiac disease.
Extract from the study “ Gluten-Free Products for Celiac Susceptible People”:
A – “ omissis…… The 33-mer peptide from α2-gliadin (amino acid sequence positions 56–88, LQLQPFPQPQLPYPQPQLPYPQPQLPYPQPQPF) contains three overlapping T-cell epitopes (3 × PQPQLPYPQ, 2 × PYPQPQLPY and PFPQPQLPY) for CD sensitive individuals. The human gastrointestinal enzymes pepsin, trypsin, and chymotrypsin were unable to hydrolyze the 33-mer peptide due to their inability to cleave before or after proline or glutamine, leaving the epitopes intact. Comparatively, large CD immunogenic peptides (≥9 amino acid residues) reach the small intestine (11) after crossing through the epithelial barrier and initiate immunogenic cascade in the lamina propria.
B – “omissis …Wheat ﬂours modiﬁed to eliminate or reduce the immune toxicity of gluten have been used to prepare pasta and baked products. The large peptides of gluten need to be modiﬁed/converted into peptides of <9 amino acid residues to minimize the CD-induced immunoreactivity. This has been achieved through numerous approaches, including exogenous enzyme treatment, use of sourdough/lactic acid bacteria, use of genetically modiﬁed wheat, etc.”
C – “ omissis…The sourdough was prepared by fermenting ﬂour with naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts. In the mature sourdoughs, the lactic acid bacteria were higher in number (> 10cfu/g) than the number of yeasts. Type I sourdough has a ﬁnal pH of 4.0 at room temperature (20–30C) and is manufactured by continuous daily refreshments with the aim to maintain the microorganisms in an active state. It takes 2–5 (>30C) days of fermentation for developing type II sourdough as an acidiﬁer with a pH that is <3.5 after 24 h of fermentation (131). The microorganisms were used in the late stationary phase of growth and exhibited restricted metabolic activity. The type III sourdough, as an acidiﬁer supplement and aroma carrier in bread making, is a dried powder used for fermentation by certain starter cultures. A few reports are available about the use of sourdough for the preparation of gluten-free bread (84, 85). In one study it was reported that food processing by selected sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases may be considered an eﬃcient approach for eliminating gluten toxicity, reducing the gluten level below 12 ppm (119). Further, sourdough fermentation, usually with a mixture of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts, is traditionally used to produce leavened bread, especially from rye ﬂour. Lactobacillus sp. are predominant among lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and they produce numerous mixed proteolytic enzymes, including metalloendopeptidases, such as PepO and PepF; aminopeptidases, such as PepN and PepC; dipeptidases, such as PepD; and dipeptidyl and tripeptidylpeptidases, such as the proline-speciﬁc Xaa-Pro dipeptidyl-peptidase (PepX) (132). The combination of wheat germination and sourdough fermentation with Lactobacillus brevis L62 extensively hydrolyzed wheat prolamin down to <5% of the initial content (133). A cell-free extract of two LABs, L. plantarum and Pediococcus pentosaceus, had a higher gliadin-degrading capacity (83%) in doughs than the corresponding cell suspension (70%), and complete gliadin degradation without using live LAB may be optimized (134). High molecular weight polymers, namely exopolysaccharides, are produced by lactic acid bacteria in presence of sucrose that mimics physiochemical properties of commercial hydrocolloids or gums, such as the ability to form a network and bind water. It counteracts the negative eﬀects of excessive sourdough acidiﬁcation and enhances loaf volume, shelf-life, the staling rate, and textural properties of products (129).”