Variety of ancient grain and market (dedicated to non celiac people with gluten related disorders)

by luciano

Scientific research has repeatedly underlined the importance of introducing, in the diet of people who have problems related to gluten / wheat intake, products made with wheat /spelt flour that have fewer immunogenic gluten fractions, as digestible as possible and tolerable [1] [2] [3].

Digestibility and tolerability of products made with wheat which are all the more important today as we are fighting against covid-19 which has direct consequences on the health of the gastro-intestinal system.
Antonio Craxì, professor of gastroenterology at the University of Palermo noted a sharp increase in gastro-intestinal pathologies due to a strong reaction to the psychological distress related to the pandemic.

Antonio Gasbarrini, head of the Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology Unit at the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, underlined how many people due to covid-19 live “under stress and this constant tension modifies the brain signals in the intestine.” In these cases, the intestinal barrier often becomes more permeable, allowing various types of pathogens to pass, creating an inflammation destined to continue in the presence of repeated uncomfortable situations.

What does the market offer? We have the possibility to find flour, bread, crakers, friselle, breadsticks, breadcrumbs, pasta etc. on the shelves of the shops that meet these needs?
To answer this question it is necessary both to retrace the supply chain from field to table and examine the various steps to identify the most useful information and to highlight the characteristics of the grain that make it more suitable for the production of products which, as mentioned above, have the highest possible digestibility and tolerability.

The complete supply chain from field to table

It is the only system that would allow to know and control:
1. The variety of wheat grown
2. The cultivation method
3. The method of harvesting and storing the grain
4. The method of grinding and storing the flour
5. The type of product and its preparation methods
6. Preservation of the product (if necessary).
Additional information needed:
1. Analyzes on wheat in relation to its varietal purity and in relation to the presence of contaminants (for example mycotoxins)
2. Some rheological parameters
3. Analyzes on flour
4. Analyzes on the finished product (if necessary)

All of this information would give us the possibility of having a product that is certain in relation to its origin, certain in health terms (respect for health and hygiene standards) and with the parameters necessary to assess its suitability in terms of digestibility and tolerability.
There are very few products that we can find on the market that are accompanied (on the manufacturer’s website) with all the information on the supply chain (it’s still a dream!). The final products contain only (with rare exceptions) the information required by the regulations by law, while other very useful information may also be present, which we will highlight later.
Useful information for the consumer [4]
Firstily the variety of wheat is one of the most necessary information and should be not only declared but certified. The variety gives us information on the characteristics of the grain and its peculiarities. Einkorn wheat, for example, has a starch composition that reverses the proportions of its two components: amylose and amylopectin. Not all starch is rapidly hydrolyzed during digestion, the fraction that resists digestion and absorption (amylopctin) in the human small intestine is called “resistant starch” and has physiological effects comparable to those of dietary fiber. Monoccoco wheat, however, has a low content (0.2%) in “resistant starch” when compared with soft wheat (0.4-0.8%) (Abdel-Aal et al. 2008).

To date there are few certified varieties on the market: the Norberto monococcum wheat, the Hammurabi monococcum wheat, both of the Agroservice Company; Monlis monococcum wheat from the Prometeo company of Urbino; Senatore Cappelli wheat from SiS company. All these varieties are registered in the National Register of varieties of agricultural species. To these must be added the grains that have the certificate of origin such as Farro della Garfagnana (cereal of the species “Triticum Dicoccum Schrank”) [5]; Farro di Monteleone di Spoleto (local ecotype of the Triticum dicoccum species), PDO since 2010. Then there are the “conservation varieties (Annex 1) such as the” Sicilian Local Varieties – “Ancient Grains” – registered in the national register of conservation varieties “(Annex 2) although the latter are usually not marketed with the exact wording with which they were registered. The name dicocco, for example, is generic, already in 2015 there were 8 varieties in the National Register (Annex No. 3).
Secondly the percentage content of gluten and its “strength” is also e very necessary information and should be accompanied by a certificate of analysis performed by an authorized laboratory. Both parameters have a “heavy” influence on the digestibility and tolerability of the final product. In the study reported in note [6], the correlation between the gluten index and the digestibility and tolerability of two varieties of einkorn wheat compared to durum wheat is highlighted. These characteristics may also appear on the package containing the final product. The “strength of wheat is generally present on wheat packages dedicated to bakeries.
Useful information for the consumer does not end with what is highlighted above.  Most importantly a brief description about:
1. Precautions taken to ensure the purity of the crop
2. Analyzes on the qualitative / sanitary compliance of the wheat.
3. About the grain cleaning which generally involves several steps
4. About grain storage
5. About the grinding
6. About the storage of flour
This information, which reassures us about the genuineness / healthiness of the final product, is generally available on the manufacturer’s website, at least for large and medium-sized producers. Difficult to find them for small producers.  For Example in the Molino Rossetto website for the stone-ground organic whole durum wheat flour Cappelli we find, in addition to the information regarding the nutritional values we find:
Wholemeal flour – obtained by grinding the precious Cappelli durum wheat – Ideal for bread, pizza and desserts –
Technical features *: W 155 – 200 P / L 1.45 – 1.80, ASH 1.3 – 1.7%, PROTEIN 12 g / 100g.
Quantitative and qualitative composition of immunogenic peptides
In the future, hopefully not far away, it would be important for each variety to know the quantitative and qualitative composition of the immunogenic peptides that activate and /or contribute to activating the adverse response of the human immune system in non-celiac gluten-sensitive subjects. The search for naturally low toxicity grains is highly valuable since it would make it possible to have products suitable for reducing exposure to celiac disease in genetically predisposed subjects, suitable for the reintroduction of gluten after a gluten-free diet, suitable for the diet of subjects who also not systematically suffer from problems related to gluten intake. In the study reported in note [6], the difference in the type of gluten (gliadins and glutenins) possessed by two varieties of einkorn wheat compared to durum wheat is underlined.
Soft wheat flour should always be used marginally for the subjects indicated in this note as it contains a highly immunogenic fraction of gluten – 33mer -; spelt and Monlis monococcum wheat also contain a fraction similar to 33mer [8[.
The final product
Last but not least, it would be necessary to know not only the ingredients used to make the final product (as required by law) but also the method used. National legislation does not, however, require the labeling of ingredients that are not found in the final product (because they are volatile, for example) or those products already present such as gluten that can be added as long as they are limited.

Other important information should be present on the packaging of final products or with an indication of their presence on the manufacturer’s site.

Among these, in addition to those previously described:
1. The variety of wheat used for the sourdough if used to make the product.
2. The percentage composition of wheat varieties in case of use of flour mixtures.
3. The percentage of Brewer’s yeast both if used alone and if used together with mother yeast.
The flour used for the sourdough, if used to make the product, is a very important data as “strong” flours or with the quantitative or / and qualitative presence of immunogenic epitopes [7] makes the final product unsuitable, always considering the purpose of these notes.
An example: The grain company of Altantide produces carasau bread from single-grain only. Among the ingredients we find, for the sourdough, the indication as an ingredient also durum wheat. Einkorn wheat (with the exception of Monlis) is considered among the most digestible and tolerable so the use of a durum wheat for the sourdough (if you do not use the same monococcum wheat which would be the best choice) is possible as long as a durum wheat is used which is, however, very digestible and tolerable. In the case in question, Senatore Cappelli wheat is used, which is to be considered a valid choice, but is not mentioned.
A specific note should be reserved for the use for making sourdough with soft wheat. The market offers many products (primarily bread) made with excellent varieties of ancient grains but which use soft grains for the sourdough. The resulting product is certainly valid but not for the subjects for whom these notes were written. It should be remembered, in fact, that soft wheat possesses the DD genome which encodes the 33mer peptide which is considered the most active in activating the immune response of the human system in celiac subjects and not only [8]. The use of sourdough made with soft (often strong) grains derives from entrusting the sourdough with the task of leavening the dough while a sourdough made with monococcum wheat is not able, due to limited and weak gluten, to perform this “work” at best. In all the tests published on this site the sourdough (in liquid form) is made and refreshed only with whole or semi-whole monococcum wheat type ID331 for its digestibility and tolerability characteristics. It does not have the task of making the dough rise but the very important one of contributing to the hydrolysis of gluten proteins [9] as well as the fundamental one of not adding less digestible and tolerable gluten fractions to the dough.
These notes, dedicated to non-celiac people with problems related to gluten / wheat, are intended to open a window on the possibilities of helping to alleviate the problems that most afflict some subjects. Varying your diet to address the aforementioned problems should always be implemented under the supervision of your doctor in order to exclude celiac disease and any other known diseases affecting the gastro-intestinal system. Furthermore, depending on the degree of intolerance, after excluding, for example, causes due to Fodmaps, products made entirely with the most digestible and tolerable varieties or mixed products can be introduced into one’s diet, also calibrating the intake interval. On the site there are only tests with the exclusive use of a single variety and with a methodology to find the limit of using a dough with less gluten but retain funcionally. It is therefore possible to use the same methodology but using less stringent parameters. A parameter that can be varied to obtain the above goal is the fermentation time of the pre-dough. The shorter the time, all other parameters being equal, the lower its strength will be in the hydrolysis of gluten proteins in the fermentation phase of the complete dough. Another parameter is the fermentation time of the final dough; the shorter it is, the less work the hydrolysis of gluten proteins can do.
N. 1
Less immunogenic wheat varieties Omissis…….“Although there is insufficient evidence to suggest that ancient wheat varieties prevent gluten-related disorders, several studies have shown that a diet based on less-immunoreactive wheat products, with fewer amounts and types of reactive prolamins and fructans, may help in the improvement of gastrointestinal and/or systemic symptoms of some auto-immune or chronic diseases (eg, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.) [34]. These less-immunoreactive varieties, like einkorn, may be good targets for slowing the development of disease in populations genetically predisposed to celiac disease and other wheat sensitivities [42]. “
“On the other hand, a subsequent paper investigating how in vitro gastro-intestinal digestion affects the immune toxic properties of gliadin from einkorn (compared to modern wheat), demonstrated that gliadin proteins of einkorn are sufficiently different from those of modern wheat, thereby determining a lower immune toxicity following in vitro simulation of human digestion [40]. “ “Although concrete functional benefits are difficult to ascertain from random individual human trials, since they are subject to differences and/or limitations in experimental design, participant number and participant characteristics in the case of parallel arm studies, results unanimously suggest that the consumption of products made with ancient wheat varieties ameliorate not only proinflammatory/antioxidant parameters (where investigated) but also glycaemic and lipid status. “ Ancient wheat species and human health: Biochemical and clinical implications. Stefano Benedettelli et altri. September 2017. (Available online at
……omissis. “Scientific research has several times supported and encouraged the use of grains with low toxicity in the prevention of celiac disease; in the research we are now presenting, some grains have been studied highlighting their profile regarding both the presence of peptides resistant to gastro-intestinal digestion and, among these, those containing the “toxic” fraction (table 3) “ ….omissis Even if none of them can be considered safe for CD patients, grain with reduced amount of major T-cell stimulatory epitopes may help in the prevention of CD, since previous studies demonstrated that the amount and duration to gluten exposure are strictly linked to the initiation of this pathology.” (A Comprehensive Peptidomic Approach to Characterize the Protein Profile of Selected Durum Wheat Genotypes: Implication for Coeliac Disease and Wheat Allergy. Rosa Pilolli , Agata Gadaleta, Luigia Di Stasio , Antonella Lamonaca, Elisabetta De Angelis , Domenica Nigro, Maria De Angelis, Gianfranco Mamone and Linda Monac. Published: 1 October 2019).
N. 2

Gluten: digestibility


Tollerability Sintesi degli aspetti più importanti riguardanti la digeribilità e la tollerabilità di prodotti realizzati con grano/farro (con esclusione dei soggetti celiaci.
Given the absence of reactivity by SPT and the limited cross-reactivity with ω-5 gliadin, T.m. might represent a potential candidate in the production of hypoallergenic bakery products for patients sensitized to ω-5 gliadin. Further analyses need to be carried out regarding its safety”. Study on the Immunoreactivity of Triticum monococcum (Einkorn) Wheat in Patients with Wheat-Dependent Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis for the Production of Hypoallergenic Foods. Lombardo Cet altri J Agric Food Chem. 2015.

A particular aspect of wheat tolerability: intestinal permeability. In some subjects, gluten proteins increase the release of zonoulin which regulates the joints of the intestine, consequently increasing permeability. Einkorn ID331 does not increase the release of zonoulin:
Protective effects of ID331 Triticum monococcum gliadin on in vitro models of the intestinal epithelium. Giuseppe Iacomino et altri. 2016.
• ID331 gliadins do not enhance permeability and do not induce zonulin release.
• ID331 gliadins do not trigger cytotoxicity or cytoskeleton reorganization.
• ID331 gastrointestinal digestion releases ω(105–123) bioactive peptide.
• ω(105–123) exerts a protective action against the toxicity induced by T. aestivum.)

N. 4
The other players in the supply chain
The information on the grains highlighted above is important for the consumer but there is other information that is important for the other players in the supply chain.
The seed producer is particularly interested in the varietal purity and the degree of germination of the seeds, the grower is satisfied with the harvest if this is abundant, with full and flawless grains, with a good protein content. The retailer is more interested in the hectolitre weight, the protein content, the humidity, and the absence of mycotoxins in the grains to be resold to processors. The milling industry is particularly interested in the extraction rate, which is related to the ash content, the hectolitre weight, the uniformity and size of the grain. The pasta manufacturer will pay particular attention to the protein content, the quantity and strength of gluten, the color of the semolina, the workability of the dough. Food quality and the various interests connected to it are protected by laws and regulations at national, community and international level (Regulation 178/2002 / EC also called “General Food Law / General Food Law”, Codex Alimentarius, for cereals derived products, in Italy, Law 580 and subsequent amendments). The qualitative parameters can be quantified through analyzes of a physical, chemical or biochemical nature and there are bodies responsible for the collection, experimentation and standardization of analytical methods that have a national scope (UNI) or international (CEN, ISO, ICC, AACC, AOAC). Some of the qualitative parameters and related analytical methods are reported in the laws and regulations of the Italian State or in Community laws. In this regard, the “Official methods of analysis of cereals and derivatives” published in the Official Gazette edited by MIPAAF are mentioned. Qualitative parameters and their ranges of variability can be included in contracts between private individuals. In some cases (such as wheat flours) the permitted ranges of variability are instead established by law. The main qualitative parameters and related measurement methods applicable to cereals and derived products, with particular regard to wheat, are reported belo
N. 5
Spelt from Garfagnana
In Garfagnana, spelt has always been grown in small plots. It is the basis of some of the main traditional dishes (mainly soups or quiches). Its cultivation increases significantly following the indications of the Tuscany Region that census it as a crop at risk of genetic erosion: in just over a decade, from the 70s to the 80s it goes from a few thousand square meters to a few tens of hectares of crops. In 1996, through the Comunità Montana della Garfagnana, the European recognition of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) was obtained, which sanctions the definitive recovery of this cereal. The specification is drawn up that provides for the cultivation of “Farro della Garfagnana” in the area of the municipalities that make up the Garfagnana Mountain Community, at an altitude between 300 and 1,000 m. s.l.m., according to organic cultivation method
N. 6
Varieties of monococcum wheat with gliadins and glutenins different from those of durum wheat
“In conclusion, our finding showed that the T. monococcum cultivars (Hammurabi and Norberto-ID331) own a different gliadin and glutenin types, and such differences may influence the digestibility and, consequently, the immunogenic properties of wheat proteins. Despite ancient monococcum grains have a similar gluten content or otherwise not higher with respect to modern tetraploid and hexaploid wheat (33), these genotypes possess a more digestible and thus potentially less toxic gluten, as also confirmed by their low gluten indexes and alveographic W value. Such characteristics could play an important role to find a better-tolerated alternative wheat species destined to patients affected by wheat-related disorders. Comparative Analysis of in vitro Digestibility and Immunogenicity of Gliadin Proteins From Durum and Einkorn Wheat (Frontiers in Nutrition maggio 2020)”.

N. 7
Toxic and immunogenic epitopes

Gluten: amino acids, digestion, toxic peptides

N. 8

Quantitation of the immunodominant 33-mer peptide from α-gliadin in wheat flours

Einkorn, emmer and durum wheat

“ 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.

N. 9
Lactic acid bacteria
“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”


Gluten-related disorders is the term for the diseases triggered by gluten, including celiac disease (CD), non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), gluten ataxia, dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) and wheat allergy.[1][2] The umbrella category has also been referred to as gluten intolerance, though a multi-disciplinary physician-led study, based in part on the 2011 International Coeliac Disease Symposium, concluded that the use of this term should be avoided due to a lack of specificity.[1]

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