C. W. Bamforth, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, e-mail email@example.com
The Science of Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages
Celiac disease, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an immune reaction to gluten in the small intestine (Rodrigo, 2006). The condition can be detected by serological antibody tests, but many people detected as having the disease by such tests do not display symptoms (Feighery, 1999). Gluten is employed as a generic term for storage proteins in cereals and represents the protein remaining after the solubilization of other protein by water and salt solutions (Sturgess et al., 1991). The relevant protein fraction is also known as prolamin, and such proteins include gliadin from wheat, hordein from barley, and secalin from rye. They are all rich in proline and glutamine and are capable of causing reactions in celiac patients. This is understood to be through the presence of defined peptide sequences of 10–20 amino acids that are resistant to attack by proteinases in the digestive tract and which induce damage in the small intestine (Murray, 1999). Because oats contain much less prolamin (avenin) with properties somewhat at variance to the prolamins from wheat, barley, and rye, oats are generally felt to be less problematic to celiac patients (Kilmartin et al., 2003).