Cereal Foods World, Vol. 63, No. 5
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Gluten Reduction Strategies for Wheat and Barley
Crispin A. Howitt,1 Philip J. Larkin,1 and Michelle L. Colgrave2
1 CSIRO Agriculture, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
2 CSIRO Agriculture, 306 Carmody Rd, St. Lucia, QLD 4067, Australia.
Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins found in wheat (gliadin and glutenins), barley (hordeins), and rye (secalins). For people with celiac disease and the less well-understood non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten proteins in cereals are a serious health challenge. In addition, many individuals choose to avoid gluten. In Western societies about 1% of the population is affected by celiac disease, and emerging evidence suggests that the rates may be higher than first thought in other parts of the world. Untreated celiac disease can cause a range of symptoms, including painful intestinal malignancy and greatly damaged mucosal villi, which results in poor absorption of nutrients. People with celiac disease also frequently suffer from low bone density. A less well-understood condition termed non-celiac gluten sensitivity is estimated to affect 5–10% of the population. Currently the only treatment for both is lifelong exclusion of gluten from the diet, and these diets can be low in fiber and high in fat and sugar. In an attempt to provide alternative, higher fiber dietary options research groups have been working to produce wheat and barley varieties that are safe for people who must avoid gluten in their diets. In this article we outline the progress of these efforts.
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