A wide range of gluten free cereals have been studies in detail as part of the HEALTHGRAIN project of the European Union, and their impact on product quality has been assessed. Enzyme technology, bioprocessing as well as high-pressure processing technology have been successfully applied to improve the quality, safety and nutritional attributes of gluten free cereal products.
In genetically susceptible individuals, the ingestion of gluten and related proteins triggers an immunemediated enteropathy known as Coeliac Disease (CD). Recent epidemiological studies have shown that 1 in 100 people worldwide suffer from CD. Such a rate establishes CD as one of the most common food intolerances. Coeliac patients eating wheat or related proteins such as hordeins (barley) or secalins (rye) undergo an immunological response, localized in the small intestine, which destroys mature absorptive epithelial cells on the surface of the small intestine.
Currently, the only way that CD can be treated is the total lifelong avoidance of gluten ingestion. Therefore, CD suffers have to follow a very strict diet and avoid any products which contain wheat, rye or barley. Some authors also include oats. Avoidance of these cereals leads to a recovery from the disease and significant improvement of the intestinal mucosa and its absorptive functions. Coeliac patients are not in position to eat some of the most common foods such as bread, pizzas, biscuits or drink beer.
Due to the unique properties of gluten, it is a big challenge for food scientists to produce good quality gluten free products. The majority of products currently on the market are in general of very poor quality. Therefore part of the HEALTHGRAIN project focused on the development of nutritious and tasty gluten free breads.
The areas covered during the project were a detailed characterisation of gluten free cereals and the assessment of these cereals as potential ingredients for gluten fre
|Contact: Elke Arendt|
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland