12 January - 20 June 2016

Wheat breeds not to blame for celiac increase

20 Feb 13

A study by Donald D. Kasarda, reported in Agricultural and Food Chemistry has looked for a link between the increased incidence of celiac disease and a proposed/assumed increase in the gluten content of wheat resulting from wheat breeding. Using a survey of US data from the 20th and 21st centuries, Kasarda charts the history of wheat development, and concludes that he finds no clear evidence of an increase in the gluten content of wheat in the US during the 20th century. Moreover, he argues that if there has indeed been an increase in celiac disease during the latter half of the century, wheat breeding for higher gluten content does not seem to be the basis for this.   His assessment is that changes in the per capita intake of wheat and gluten might play a role since both have increased during the period in question, but there is a lack of suitable data on the incidence of celiac disease by year to test those possibilities. He notes that ‘vital’ or fractionated gluten is often added to food products to improve their characteristics and that this usage has tripled since 1977. However, he also notes that the normal fluctuation of wheat crop protein content from year-to-year, being equivalent to or larger than the intake of fractionated gluten, is a complicating factor.  He concludes by listing other factors, worthy of further investigation, which might contribute to determining the “toxicity” of wheat for people with the appropriate genetic susceptibility for celiac disease. These factors include per capita vital gluten intake, variations in individual diets with regard to the amount and types of wheat consumed, wheat genetics, and agronomic practices (such as nitrogen fertilization) that affect protein content.

RSSL carries out allergen testing using immunological, DNA and distillation techniques, depending on the allergen to be detected. Detection limits are in the range 1- 100 mg allergen/kg of sample for almond, Brazil nut, macadamia nut, peanut, walnut, hazelnut, cashew nut, pistachio nut, pecan nut, pine nut and chestnut.  Celery, celeriac, black mustard, lupin and kiwi allergens can be detected by DNA methods, as can crustacean, fish and mollusc allergens.  The laboratory also uses a range of UKAS accredited immunological procedures for the detection of allergens including gluten, peanut, hazelnut, almonds, soya, egg, milk, sesame and histamine.  Distillation and titration methods are used for the determination of sulphur dioxide and sulphites.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com.

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