Now, celiac disease victims can choose from a wide range of gluten free cereals which have been developed with them in mind.
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).
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 areas covered during the new project were a detailed characterisation of gluten free cereals and the assessment of these cereals as potential ingredients for gluten free breads.
The characterizations ranged from a detailed chemical characterisation to rheological evaluation of the resulting doughs, structural properties of the doughs and breads using dvanced microscopic methods as well as pilotscale baking trials and sensory evaluation. Novel methods to improve the quality of gluten free cereal products were also covered; one example being the use of specially selected Lactic acid bacteria with properties such as antifungal activity, exopolysaccharide production and enzyme production. The use of specifically selected Lactic acid bacteria can significantly improve the quality and shelf-life of gluten free breads.