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Integrated Evaluation of the Potential Health Benefits of Einkorn-Based Breads: anti-inflammatory effect

by luciano

Grano Einkorn wheat: anti-inflammatory effect

Fabiana Antognoni et al. Nutrients 11-11-2017

“Abstract: Nowadays the high nutritional value of whole grains is recognized, and there is an increasing interest in the ancient varieties for producing wholegrain food products with enhanced nutritional characteristics. Among ancient crops, einkorn could represent a valid alternative. In this work, einkorn flours were analyzed for their content in carotenoids and in free and bound phenolic acids, and compared to wheat flours. The most promising flours were used to produce conventional and sourdough fermented breads. Breads were in vitro digested, and characterized before and after digestion. The four breads having the best characteristics were selected, and the product of their digestion was used to evaluate their anti-inflammatory effect using Caco-2 cells. Our results confirm the higher carotenoid levels in einkorn than in modern wheats, and the effectiveness of sourdough fermentation in maintaining these levels, despite the longer exposure to atmospheric oxygen. Moreover, in cultured cells einkorn bread evidenced an anti-inflammatory effect, although masked by the effect of digestive fluid. This study represents the first integrated evaluation of the potential health benefit of einkorn-based bakery products compared to wheat-based ones, and contributes to our knowledge of ancient grains.

Several studies have shown a clear correlation between the consumption of wholegrain and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases [1,2], diabetes [3], and some types of cancer [4]. The beneficial properties of wholegrain are mainly ascribed to their micronutrient and phytochemical content [5–7]. Cereals are among the richest food in phenolic acids, their content being comparable with or even higher than that found in berries, fruits, and vegetables [8]. In addition, some cereals are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin [9,10]. Micronutrients and phytochemicals are chiefly concentrated in the outer layers of grains [11], and this could explain the preventive effects associated with high wholegrain consumption [12]. Nowadays, the higher nutritional value of wholegrain compared to refined ones is recognized [13], and there is an increasing interest in ancient crops as source of wholegrain flours [14].

Einkorn (Triticum monococcum L. ssp. monococcum) is an ancient crop. Compared to polyploid wheats it has a higher content of proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fructans, and phytochemicals as tocols, carotenoids, alkylresorcinols, phytosterols, and a lower α-, β-amylase and lipoxygenase activities [15]. In addition, einkorn expresses very few T-cell stimulatory gluten peptides [16]. Einkorn could represent a valid alternative for producing functional baked products.
In bakery, processing could contribute to functionality [17,18]. Sourdough fermentation, involving the inter-relation between microbial metabolism and cereal enzymes, has been shown to greatly affect the functional features of leavened baked goods [19]. This type of fermentation may produce new nutritionally active molecules such as functional peptides and amino acid derivatives [20,21], deriving from either the bacterial hydrolytic activity [20] or from their own synthetic pathways [22]. To exert a positive action in the human body, bioactive compounds must be hydrolyzed from the food matrix, and be absorbed in the intestine. The bioaccessibility of bioactive compounds, i.e., the percentage released from the food matrix and made available for uptake by the intestinal mucosa, is an important parameter that can be influenced by many different factors including the food matrix and the food processing [23,24]. Fermentation by lactic acid bacteria may improve nutrient bioaccessibility and produce compounds with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity [19]. Sourdough lactic acid bacteria have been reported to release or synthesize antioxidant and anti-inflammatory peptides during fermentation of cereal flours [20].
In this work, different wheat and einkorn flours were analyzed for their content in carotenoids and phenolic acids. The richest in these functional compounds were selected, and used to bake breads with two different fermentation procedures (conventional and sourdough).
Breads were digested in vitro using a dynamic gastro-intestinal digestor, and characterized before and after digestion. Based on integrated results, four breads were selected, and the product of their intestinal digestion was supplemented to Caco-2 intestinal cells. Cells were exposed to inflammatory stress, and the effect of supplementation on different inflammation markers was assessed.
Overall, this study has evaluated how the type of flour and the type of fermentation can influence the nutritional features of bread, and the bioaccessibility and anti-inflammatory effects of its functional compounds. The combination of different results provides an integrated vision supporting the possible health benefits of einkorn-based bread.”


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2. Aune, D.; Keum, N.; Giovannucci, E.; Fadnes, L.T.; Boffetta, P.; Greenwood, D.C.; Tonstad, S.; Vatten, L.J.; Riboli, E.; Norat, T. Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: Systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 2016, 353, i2716. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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7. Abdel-Aal, E.S.M.; Young, J.C.; Rabalski, I.; Hucl, P.; Frégeau-Reid, J. Identification and quantification of seed carotenoids in selected wheat species. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007, 55, 787–794. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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9. Abdel-Aal, E.S.M.; Young, J.C.; Wood, P.J.; Rabalski, I.; Hucl, P.; Fregeau-Reid, J. Einkorn: A potential candidate for developing high lutein wheat. Cereal Chem. 2002, 79, 455–457. [CrossRef]

10. Humphries, J.M.; Khachik, F. Distribution of lutein, zeaxanthin and related geometrical isomers in fruit, vegetables, wheat and pasta products. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2003, 51, 1322–1327. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

11. Sosulski, F.; Krygier, K.; Hogge, L. Free, esterified, and insoluble-bound phenolic acids. 3. Composition of phenolic acids in cereal and potato flour. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1982, 30, 337–340. [CrossRef]

12. Poutanen, K.; Shepherd, R.; Shewry, P.R.; Delcour, J.A.; Bjorck, I.; Van Der Kamp, J.W. Beyond whole grain:

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A review on KAMUT khorasan wheat. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 2016, 28, 1–9. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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16. Molberg, Ø.; Uhlen, A.K.; Jensen, T.; Flæte, N.S.; Fleckenstein, B.; Arentz-Hansen, H.; Raki, M.; Lundin, K.E.A.; Sollid, L.M. Mapping of gluten T-cell epitopes in the bread wheat ancestors: Implication for celiac disease. Gastroenterology 2005, 128, 393–401. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

17. Sánchez-Pardo, M.E.; Blancas-Nápoles, J.A.; Vázquez-Landaverde, P.A.; Nari, A.; Taglieri, I.; Ortiz-Moreno, A.; Mayorga-Reyes, L.; Sanmartin, C.; Bermúdez-Humarán, L.G.; Torres-Maravilla, E. The use of Mexican xaxtle as leavening agent in Italian straight dough bread making to produce pulque bread. Agrochimica 2016, 60, 329–342.

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20. Gobbetti, M.; Rizzello, G.C.; Di Cagno, R.; De Angelis, M. How the sourdough may affect the functional features of leavened baked goods. Food Microbiol. 2014, 37, 30–40. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Einkorn wheat cultivar Norberto (ID331)

by luciano

Brief presentation of the Norberto cultivar.

Genetic banks of grains hold innumerable grain seeds (accessions-cultivar) which are the object of studies, researches as well as requests for cultivation. The accession can be indicated with a number, a code, the name of the farmer, of the person who identified it, of the collector, etc., and of the collection location. The cultivar are, unlike the accessions, registered in the Register of varieties of agricultural species with their own identification name so that they can be marketed. And this is what happened with accession ID331 that CREA of Rome “characterised” (i.e. described and unambiguously identified) and registered with the name of Norberto. Subsequently CREA, through a public tender (2017) assigned, for 10 years, to the company Agroservice S.P.A. the cultivation of the seed with the obligation to keep it pure.

Peculiar characteristics of einkorn wheat.
1. gluten structure characteristic
2. health characteristics
3. certainty of what we buy
4. purity and wholesomeness of what we buy

Characteristic of the gluten structure
Because the gluten of einkorn is less strong than that of durum wheat and bread wheat. The gluten structure is composed of glutenins which form a structure called macropolymer (the gluten skeleton) which incorporates the gliadins. Gluteins are linked together by disulfide bonds which are very resistant to splitting. Einkorn has more gliadins than glutenins compared to other grains, therefore it has a less developed “skeleton” which makes its gluten less “strong” [1]. The greater presence of gliadins also makes the doughs viscous and soft.

1 – The content and composition of gluten proteins has been the subject of few studies; existing ones also concerning the GLIADIN/GLUTENIN ratio reported the following data: white soft wheat flour values ​​between 1.7–3.1 (Wieser and Kieffer, 2001) and 1.4–2.1 (Thanhaeuser et al., 2014), while those of spelled (2.2–9.0) (Koenig et al., 2015 ), durum wheat (3.1–5.0) (Wieser, 2000; Wieser et al., 2003), spelled (3.5–7.6) (Wieser and Koehler, 2009) and einkorn (4.0–14.0) (Wieser et al., 2009), also einkorn (4.2-12.0) Sabrina Geisslitz et al. 2018.

Health features

1 – Digestibility of gluten
The einkorn wheat cultiva have a gluten, despite the variability due to the pedo-climatic conditions of the growing areas, significantly less “strong” and in lower quantities (Comparative Analysis of in vitro Digestibility and Immunogenicity of Gliadin Proteins From Durum and Einkorn Wheat. Frontiers in Nutrition May 2020)” compared to hard and bread wheat. These characteristics have a strong impact on the digestibility of gluten. The Norberto cultivar einkorn wheat has a gluten index of 15-30 and a strength index of about 80. A study conducted by the CNR of Avellino by G. Mamone demonstrates the high digestibility of einkorn compared to wheat: “With In our study we discovered that ancient varieties of this cereal contain a more fragile gluten and therefore more digestible and less toxic than common wheat (Triticum aestivum)”. Insight: the digestion of gluten.

The digestibility of gluten is extremely important to keep the gastro-intestinal system and, consequently, health in good condition. The gastro-intestinal system is subject to multiple pathologies (as well as actual diseases) which compromise its proper functioning. Among these “pathologies” inflammation and intestinal permeability are of particular importance. Rather frequent pathologies aggravated by the increasingly present stress in our lives (at very high levels today also due to the effect of the covid) and by the not always correct diet.

Einkorn wheat possesses peculiar characteristics which make it an excellent ally in order not to aggravate both inflammation and intestinal permeability. The ID331 cultivar (now Norberto), contains a fraction of gluten (peptide) which exerts a “protective” effect against the intestinal membrane as hereinafter specified. Furthermore, products with einkorn wheat can improve not only the proinflammatory/antioxidant parameters but also the glycemic and lipid status (Brandolini 2021).

2 – Effect on intestinal permeability and towards the intestinal membrane
A 2016 research showed that the gluten (specifically the gliadins) of the einkorn wheat id331 (now Norberto) do not stimulate intestinal permeability “ID331 gliadin did not enhance permeability”. It also has a gluten fraction which exerts a protective action on the intestinal mucosa. (Protective effects of ID331 Triticum monococcum gliadin on in vitro models of the intestinal epithelium. G. Jacomino et al 2016).

3 – Anti-inflammatory effect towards the intestinal membrane
The study “ Integrated Evaluation of the Potential Health Benefits of Einkorn-Based Breads A. Gobetti et al. 2017” highlighted that einkorn bread (bread) exerts an anti-inflammatory action on the intestinal membrane: “einkorn bread evidenced an anti-inflammatory effect, although masked by the effect of digestive fluid”. Basically a potential help to maintain health: “potential health benefit of einkorn-based bakery products compared to wheat-based one

Natural Variation in Toxicity of Wheat

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Natural Variation in Toxicity of Wheat: Potential for Selection of Nontoxic Varieties for Celiac Disease Patients (and useful for disease prevention in individuals at risk)
Liesbeth Dekking, Harry Jonker et al. Article in Gastroenterology · October 2005. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2005.06.017 · Source: PubMed

“Background & Aims: Celiac disease (CD) is an intestinal disorder caused by T-cell responses to peptides derived from the gluten proteins present in wheat. Such peptides have been found both in the gliadin and glutenin proteins in gluten. The only cure for CD is a lifelong gluten-free diet. It is unknown, however, if all wheat varieties are equally harmful for patients. We investigated whether wheat varieties exist with a nat- ural low number of T-cell–stimulatory epitopes. Methods: Gluten proteins present in public databases were analyzed for the presence of T-cell–stimulatory sequences. In addition, wheat accessions from diploid (AA, SS/BB, and DD genomes), tetraploid (AABB), and hexaploid (AABBDD) Triticum species were tested for the presence of T-cell–stimulatory epitopes in gliadins and glutenins by both T-cell and monoclonal anti-body–based assays. Results: The database analysis readily identified gluten proteins that lack 1 or more of the known T-cell–stimulatory sequences. Moreover, both the T-cell– and antibody-based assays showed that a large variation exists in the amount of T-cell– stimulatory peptides present in the wheat accessions. Conclusions: Sufficient genetic variation is present to endeavor the selection of wheat accessions that con- tain low amounts of T-cell–stimulatory sequences. Such materials may be used to select and breed wheat varieties suitable for consumption by CD patients, contributing to a well-balanced diet and an increase in their quality of life. Such varieties also may be useful for disease prevention in individuals at risk.”

The study also recalls the influence of gluten intake on early childhood nutrition:

“It is known that early exposure to gluten and a double HLA-DQ2 gene dose both promote CD development. In Sweden the addition of gluten to infant food led to a 5-fold increase in the occurrence of CD in the 1980s,and HLA-DQ2 homozygous individuals have a 5-fold increased risk for developing CD com pared with HLA-DQ2 heterozygous individuals. A large repertoire of abundant immunogenic gluten peptides in the diet, together with a high copy number of HLA-DQ2, thus favors the breaking of oral tolerance. In present-day practice, gluten is introduced into the diet of infants at 6–7 months of age. Because there is no restriction in the amount of gluten given, gluten intake at age 12 months is between 6 and 9 g/day, whereas gluten-specific T cells of CD patients are known to respond to microgram amounts. The sudden introduction of grams of gluten thus may play an important role in the breaking of oral tolerance. As we have suggested previously, the current understand- ing of the development of the disease may call for a more gradual and/or reduced intake of gluten in infants. The breeding of wheat varieties with a lower amount of T-cell–stimulatory gluten peptides potentially could aid in reaching that goal.”

….omissis “Wheat gluten is a group of proteins that can be partitioned into 2 protein families: the glutenins and the gliadins. The glutenins can be subdivided further into high molecular weight (HMW) and low molecular weight (LMW) glutenins and the gliadins can be divided into α, γ and ω gliadins. At present, many gluten- derived T-cell–stimulatory peptides are known and they originate from the α, and γ-gliadins, and the HMW and LMW glutenins. Homologue sequences are found in the secalins of rye, the hordeins of barley, and the avenins of oats. Gluten and gluten-like molecules thus contain many immunogenic peptides. Moreover, the unique food-industrial properties of gluten are in part related to a very high proline content that renders gluten relatively resistant to enzymatic degradation in the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, many of the immunogenic gluten peptides are likely to survive for extended periods in the intestine, increasing the probability of triggering a T-cell response. Thus, the unique properties of gluten are linked tightly to their disease- inducing potential in CD patients”.

Celiac disease is a prevalent disorder characterized by a chronic intestinal inflammation driven by HLA-DQ2 or -DQ8-restricted T cells specific for ingested wheat gluten peptides. The dominant T-cell responses are to epitopes that cluster within a stable 33mer fragment formed by physiologic digestion of distinct alpha-gliadins. Celiac disease is treated by excluding all gluten proteins from the diet. Conceivably, a diet based on baking-quality gluten from a wheat species that expresses no or few T-cell stimulatory gluten peptides should be equally well tolerated by the celiac patients and, importantly, also be beneficial for disease prevention. To identify baking quality, harmless wheat, we followed the evolution of the wheat back to the species that most likely have contributed the AA, BB, and DD genomes to the bread wheat. Gluten were extracted from a large collection of these ancient wheat species and screened for T-cell stimulatory gluten peptides. Distinct differences in the intestinal T-cell responses to the diploid species were identified. Interestingly, we found that the fragments identical or equivalent to the immunodominant 33mer fragment are encoded by alpha-gliadin genes on the wheat chromosome 6D and thus absent from gluten of diploid einkorn (AA) and even certain cultivars of the tetraploid (AABB) pasta wheat. These findings have implications for celiac disease because they raise the prospect of identifying or producing by breeding wheat species with low or absent levels of harmful gluten proteins.
Mapping of Gluten T-Cell Epitopes in the Bread Wheat Ancestors: Implications for Celiac Disease. Tore Jensen et al. March 2005 Gastroenterology 128(2):393-401; DOI:10.1053/j.gastro.2004.11.003

Cutaneous Manifestations of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

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Cutaneous Manifestations of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Clinical Histological and Immunopathological Features
Veronica Bonciolini, Beatrice Bianchi, Elena Del Bianco, Alice Verdelli, and Marzia Caproni
Background: The dermatological manifestations associated with intestinal diseases are becoming more frequent, especially now when new clinical entities, such as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), are identified. The existence of this new entity is still debated. However, many patients with diagnosed NCGS that present intestinal manifestations have skin lesions that need appropriate characterization. Methods: We involved 17 patients affected by NCGS with non-specific cutaneous manifestations who got much better after a gluten free diet. For a histopathological and immunopathological evaluation, two skin samples from each patient and their clinical data were collected. Results: The median age of the 17 enrolled patients affected by NCGS was 36 years and 76% of them were females. On the extensor surfaces of upper and lower limbs in particular, they all presented very itchy dermatological manifestations morphologically similar to eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis herpetiformis. This similarity was also confirmed histologically, but the immunopathological analysis showed the prevalence of deposits of C3 along the dermo-epidermal junction with a microgranular/granular pattern (82%). Conclusions: The exact characterization of new clinical entities such as Cutaneous Gluten Sensitivity and NCGS is an important objective both for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, since these are patients who actually benefit from a GFD (Gluten Free Diet) and who do not adopt it only for fashion.
….omissis: 5.

At the moment, the results of our study do not allow the exact characterization of a new skin disease related to NCGS. The skin lesions observed were similar both to eczema and psoriasis and did not show a specific histological pattern. Furthermore, no serological marker was useful to identify these patients. The only data common to most of these patients affected by NCGS associated to non-specific skin manifestations are:
1. the itching;
2. the presence of C3 at the dermoepidermal junction;
3. a rapid resolution of lesions when adopting the gluten free diet.”

From: Nutrients. 2015 Sep; 7(9): 7798–7805. Published online 2015 Sep 15. doi:10.3390/nu7095368


Semi-wholemeal einkorn wheat flour bread 09-12-2021

by luciano

The test was carried out with the same method illustrated several times on the site (1):
Preferment (sponge) (2): semi-wholemeal einkorn wheat flour (passing through a 600 micron sieve), sourdough in liquid form of einkorn wheat (same as the dough), brewer’s yeast in very limited quantities as a starter, water.

Final dough: preferment, einkorn wheat flour (passing through a 600 micron sieve), sourdough in liquid form of einkorn wheat (same as the dough), brewer’s yeast in very limited quantities as a starter, extra virgin olive oil, malt, salt, water.
We obtained a very fragrant bread, with an accentuated flavor of wheat, but above all with an excellent texture and very digestible.
The long maturation with the sourdough (always made with the some einkorn wheat) has allowed us to achieve these results.
The hydrolysis of gluten by the sourdough is clearly visible in Photo n. 1: after the very long cold maturation (5 degrees) and the subsequent heating up to 19-20 degrees, the dough has an underdeveloped, indeed “deteriorated” gluten network. The formation of the “loaf” or “roll” with the usual technique is not possible, the dough does not lend itself to “modeling”. A ball or roll is therefore made for final proof in a basket (Photo N. 2). Photo No. 3 shows the dough at the end of leavening ready for the oven; the surface does not appear homogeneous or elastic. The result Photo NN. 4 and 5 show the success of the test and above all the photos NN. 6, 7, 8, 9 are tangible proof of the excellent result of the texture which presents a disordered crumb in the distribution of the holes but definitely present: the bread is not compact at all. Looking at the state of the dough (Photo N.1) it would not seem possible to obtain the result shown in photo n9!.

Photo n. 1