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Ancient wheat and health: a legend or the reality? A review on KAMUT khorasan wheat

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After WWII, the industrialized agriculture selected modern varieties of Triticum turgidum spp. durum and spp. aestivum (durum wheat and common wheat) based on higher yields and technological characteristics. Nowadays, the use of whole ancient grains and pseudo cereals is considered nutritionally important. How ancient grains have positive effects is not entirely known, the fragmentation of the scientific knowledge being also related to the fact that ancient grains are not a homogeneous category. The KAMUT® trademark indicates a specific and ancient variety of grain (Triticum turgidum ssp. turanicum, commonly khorasan wheat), and guarantees certain attributes making studies sufficiently comparable. In this work, studies on KAMUT® khorasan wheat have been systematically reviewed, evidencing different aspects supporting its benefits. Although it is not possible to establish whether all ancient grains share these positive characteristics, in total or in part, this review provides further evidences supporting the consumption of ancient grains.
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Ancient wheat and health: a legend or the reality? A review on KAMUT
khorasan wheat
Alessandra Bordoni
, Francesca Danesi
, Mattia Di Nunzio
, Annalisa Taccari
Veronica Valli
Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna, Cesena, Italy;
Interdepartmental Centre of Agri-Food
Research, University of Bologna, Cesena, Italy
After WWII, the industrialized agriculture selected modern varieties of Triticum turgidum spp.
durum and spp. aestivum (durum wheat and common wheat) based on higher yields and techno-
logical characteristics. Nowadays, the use of whole ancient grains and pseudo cereals is consid-
ered nutritionally important. How ancient grains have positive effects is not entirely known, the
fragmentation of the scientific knowledge being also related to the fact that ancient grains are
not a homogeneous category. The KAMUT
trademark indicates a specific and ancient variety of
grain (Triticum turgidum ssp. turanicum, commonly khorasan wheat), and guarantees certain
attributes making studies sufficiently comparable. In this work, studies on KAMUT
wheat have been systematically reviewed, evidencing different aspects supporting its benefits.
Although it is not possible to establish whether all ancient grains share these positive characteris-
tics, in total or in part, this review provides further evidences supporting the consumption of
ancient grains.
Received 28 July 2016
Revised 8 October 2016
Accepted 9 October 2016
khorasan wheat;
ancient grains; whole
grains; ancient wheat
Grains are seeds from plants of the Gramineae family
(such as wheat, corn, rice, barley, oat and rye) that
have been the basis for human nutrition for thousands
of years. Grains are fundamental for sustenance, both
for their nutritional value and for their chemical prop-
erties that allow for a variety of uses in the food
industry. Last, but not least, grains can be stored for
long periods, and easily transported.
Wheat was one of the first domesticated food crops,
and for about 8000 years it has been the basic staple
food of the major civilizations of Europe, West Asia
and North Africa. Today, wheat is grown on more
land area than any other commercial crop and contin-
ues to be the most important food grain source for
humans (Curtis 2002).
The most commonly used types of wheat, Triticum
turgidum ssp. durum (or durum wheat), used to make
pasta, and Triticum turgidum ssp. aestivum (or com-
mon wheat), used to make bread, originated thou-
sands of years ago through naturally occurring
hybridization of their progenitors. In the last 60 years,
there has been an ever-increasing number of the vari-
eties available, for both durum wheat and common
wheat, while ancient varieties of this cereal have been
largely forgotten or lost.
Ancient wheat is loosely defined as wheat that was
used by ancient civilizations. Usually ancient wheat is
considered to include einkorn, emmer, khorasan and
spelt. Another term used to describe wheat commonly
grown in the period between ancient wheat and modern
wheat is heritage wheat. This wheat consists of varieties
selected from either ancient wheat or wild wheat.
Ancient wheat and heritage wheat generally consist of
land races, which mean they were made up of many
closely related strains. Land races have a huge diversity
in their populations giving them great advantages in fac-
ing extremes in climate fluctuation and disease and
insect pressure. The reason for this is that this diverse
population contains strains which vary in their suscepti-
bility to the aforementioned challenges. Modern wheat,
by contrast is made up of homogeneous strains, which
are the result of intensive breeding programs generally
starting after WWII. During this period, the industrial-
ization of agriculture began to include high inputs of
CONTACT Prof. Alessandra Bordoni Campus of Food Science, University of Bologna, Piazza Goidanich, 60-47521
Cesena (FC), Italy
ß2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
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VOL. 68, NO. 3, 278286
chemicals to help increase yields and a focus on bread
in and pasta production, which increased speed and effi-
cacy of the process. Especially the size of the loaf of
bread was of great importance therefore, one important
goal was to increase the number of loaves of bread from
each kg of flour used. So pure strains of wheat were
developed with greater yield potential and greater loaf
volume capacity.
In the last decade, some of these ancient grains,
not subjected to extensive genetic improvements, have
been reintroduced, and the growing awareness regard-
ing foods considered natural and healthy have further
increased the interest in alternative cereals. This inter-
est is also associated with the fact that some of them
are reported to be better tolerated by individuals that
suffer from intolerance or allergies to modern wheat
(Molberg et al. 2005; Spaenij-Dekking et al. 2005).
Ancient grains (khorasan wheat, barley, spelt, rye,
millet, oat and sorghum) and pseudo cereals (i.e. qui-
noa, amaranth and buckwheat) are considered healthy
due to their higher content of certain components
(Wijngaard & Arendt 2006) and to their common use
as whole grains. Whole grains contain higher amounts
of positive components compared to refined grains.
Most importantly, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals,
but also other bioactive molecules such as omega 3
fatty acids, prebiotic oligosaccharides, phytosterols,
polyphenols, etc., and probably the interaction of all
the components rather than each individual one gives
whole grains their nutritional value (Slavin et al. 2001).
Epidemiological studies have scientifically proven
that regular eating of whole grains positively affects
human health, because it reduces the risk of type 2
diabetes (Maki & Phillips 2015) and manages obesity
(Giacco et al. 2011). It is also linked to both a lower
cardiovascular mortality rate in the elderly and a
reduction in colon cancer cases (Truswell 2002;
Sahyoun et al. 2006; Gil et al. 2011).
Despite dietary guidelines all over the world are rec-
ommending the inclusion of whole grains, the know-
ledge of the healthy effect of whole ancient grains is
fragmented and based more on the evaluation of the
properties of the main chemical components than on
the effect of the individual ancient grain on those who
have ingested it. In addition, compositional differences
existing among different ancient grains and among vari-
eties of the same grain (Gawlik-Dziki et al. 2012;
Carvalho et al. 2015), and the strong influence of agro-
nomic and environmental factors on the level of phyto-
chemicals in plants (Danesi et al. 2014) could make
difficult to generalize results obtained in a specific study.
In this respect, KAMUT
khorasan wheat repre-
sents an interesting exception, since it is a specific and
ancient variety of grain (Triticum turgidum ssp. tura-
nicum, commonly called khorasan wheat). KAMUT
is a registered trademark of Kamut International, Ltd.
(Big Sandy, MT) and Kamut Enterprises of Europe
(Oudenaarde, Belgium), bvba, and the trademark
guarantees certain attributes, mainly a protein content
of 1218%and a selenium content between 400 and
1000 ppb, and several quality specifications related to
growing conditions. For example, the grain must be
always grown certified organic and never hybridized
or genetically modified (Quinn 1999). This makes pos-
sible the comparison among studies. The chemical
composition of KAMUT
khorasan wheat, durum
wheat and common wheat is reported in Table 1.
In this work, studies performed to evaluate the
nutritional, technological and healthy characteristics of
khorasan wheat compared to modern wheat
have been systematically reviewed, in the attempt to
go deeper inside the scientific basis for the possible
exploitation of this ancient grain to produce food hav-
ing an enhanced nutritional value.
Search strategy
The detailed selection process is presented in Figure 1.
First access in PubMed was performed on 30
Table 1. Chemical composition and energy of KAMUT
san wheat, common wheat and durum wheat.
khorasan wheat
Water (g/100 g) 11.07 10.42 10.94
Energy (Kcal/100 g) 337 340 339
Proteins (g/100 g) 14.54 10.69 13.68
Total lipid fat (g/100 g) 2.13 1.99 2.47
Saturated (g/100 g) 0.196 0.368 0.454
Monounsaturated (g/100 g) 0.213 0.227 0.344
Polyunsaturated (g/100 g) 0.621 0.837 0.978
Cholesterol (mg/100 g) 0 0 0
Carbohydrate (g/100 g) 70.58 75.36 71.13
Fibres total (g/100 g) 11.1 12.7 n.d.
Sugars (g/100 g) 7.84 0.41 n.d.
Vitamin C (mg/100 g) 0 0 0
Thiamine (mg/100 g) 0.566 0.410 0.419
Riboflavin (mg/100 g) 0.184 0.107 0.121
Niacin (mg/100 g) 6.375 4.766 6.738
Vitamin B
(mg/100 g) 0.259 0.378 0.419
Folic acid (lg/100 g) n.d. 41 43
Vitamin B
(lg/100 g) n.d. 0 0
Vitamin A (lg/100 g) 1 0 0
Vitamin E (mg/100 g) 0.61 1.01 n.d.
Vitamin D (lg/100 g) n.d. 0 0
Vitamin K (lg/100 g) 1.8 1.9 n.d.
Calcium (mg/100 g) 22 34 34
Iron (mg/100 g) 3.77 5.37 3.52
Magnesium (mg/100 g) 130 90 144
Phosphorus (mg/100 g) 364 402 508
Potassium (mg/100 g) 403 435 431
Sodium (mg/100 g) 5 2 2
Zinc (mg/100 g) 3.68 3.46 4.16
United States Department of Agriculture. USDA Food Composition
Database. Available from:
November 2015 using Kamutas keyword and
English language, abstract availability and publication
in the year 1990-present as filters. The timeframe
period of the search was selected based on the year of
registration of KAMUT
as a trademark. Twenty-two
records were retrieved. Search was performed again
using Khorasan wheatas keyword and the same fil-
ters, and it retrieved 12 records, six of them in com-
mon with the previous search. PubMed search was
performed again on 10 February 2016, and four add-
itional records, three for Kamut and one for khorasan
wheat were added to the list. First search on Scopus
was performed on 1 December 2015 using the same
keywords and filters. A second search was performed
on 10 February 2016.
Lists were compared to avoid duplicates, and
articles published in peer-reviewed journals were
selected, so obtaining 94 records. Records were then
checked based on their abstract by independent
researchers, and those out of the scope of this review,
as well as articles reporting data on khorasan wheat
but not specifically on KAMUT
wheat were excluded.
In the end, 40 articles were included in the review.
Results and discussion
Technological and nutritional aspects
The organoleptic and nutritional properties of grain
products depend on the flour used for their
production. The physical result of the flour is
extremely important in the final product, especially in
baked goods, and therefore one of the primary limita-
tions in the use of flour made from something other
than wheat is its inadequate chemical properties. The
partial or complete substitution of normal flour with
flour from ancient grains could add nutritional value
to the final products, provided that the physical and
sensory characteristics of the substituting flour are
equal or better than those of wheat so that public
acceptance is not deterred.
The suitability of KAMUT
khorasan wheat has
been positively ascertained in the production of bread
(Piergiovanni et al. 2009), tortillas (Carini et al. 2010)
and cookies (Chandi et al. 2015). In tortillas, the sub-
stitution of regular flour with KAMUT
wheat flour slightly modified flour reaction to water
(Serventi et al. 2009), but the physiochemical proper-
ties of the finished product were the same, even in
products with a long shelf-life (180 days) (Carini et al.
2010). In cookie production, the flour made from
khorasan wheat appeared to be able to sub-
stitute common wheat for up to 50%without causing
qualitative physical alterations in the products proper-
ties (Chandi et al. 2015). Furthermore, bread made
with a mix of ancient cereals, including KAMUT
khorasan wheat, demonstrated comparable sensorial
and physical properties as that of wheat flour
First access in PubMed on Nov 30, 2015
First access in Scopus on Dec 1, 2015
Filters: English language,
abstract availability,
time frame 1990 - present
Keyword: Kamut
Keyword: Khorasan wheat
Second access in PubMed and in Scopus
on Feb 14, 2016
Filters: English l anguage,
abstract availability,
time frame 1990 - present
Keyword: Kamut
Keyword: Khorasan wheat
Exclusion of duplicates
Selection of articles in peer-reviewed journals
94 records
Selection based on the abstracts by independent researchers
40 articles included in the review
Figure 1. Flow diagram of search strategy and study selection.
(Angioloni & Collar 2011). The physicochemical and
metabolomic characteristics of KAMUT
and durum wheat fermented dough were investigated
by Balestra et al. (2015), who found KAMUT
to be more suitable than durum wheat for the fermen-
tation processes tested, especially at acidic conditions.
Studies reported above indicate that KAMUT
khorasan wheat enjoys great versatility as a raw mater-
ial because it is suitable for several consumer uses. In
addition, consumers enjoy products made with the
khorasan wheat (Holmer et al. 2012), and
appreciate numerous quality attributes (e.g. it is
organically grown, it is managed according to a global
value-enhancement strategy) featured by KAMUT
wheat (Canavari et al. 2009).
According to Canavari et al. (2009), Italian large-
scale retail chains are deeply interested in marketing
this type of product. At present, Italy is the largest EU
consumer of KAMUT
and imports approximately
70%of all the KAMUT
wheat exported in Europe.
Most of the Italian KAMUT
-based products are
exported into other EU countries, while in Germany,
France and Belgium nearly all the imported KAMUT
grains are domestically consumed.
The use of KAMUT
khorasan wheat flour as a
substitute for other ingredients can contribute to the
improvement of the nutritional value of the final
product. Bread made with KAMUT
khorasan wheat
flour had more carotenoid and was richer in protein
compared to breads made with modern wheat
(Pasqualone et al. 2011). Similarly, total phenolics,
total flavonoids and antioxidant capacity were higher
in spelt and KAMUT
flakes and muesli than in cor-
responding conventional products, although lower
than in products made with Dickopf wheat and red
wheat (Sumczynski et al. 2015). In addition, products
made with spelt and KAMUT
wheat had the highest
protein level (Sumczynski et al. 2015).
Shewry and Hey (2015) carried out an extensive lit-
erature review in order to determine whether ancient
wheat species differ from common wheat in a range
of components that have established or proposed ben-
efits to human health. Among studies included in the
review, Abdel-Aal el and Rabalski (2008) reported a
higher concentration of total phenolics in KAMUT
wheat than in 10 common wheat cultivars. This could
be due to the low polyphenol oxidase found in
flour compared to other 59 whole meal
flours (Hidalgo et al. 2013). In addition, a higher con-
tent of total carotenoids in KAMUT
wheat compared
with common wheat was reported (Abdel-Aal el et al.
2007). The major component was lutein, which was
present at 5.77 mg/g concentration compared with a
mean of 2.06 mg/g in four common wheat cultivars.
The high content of lutein was confirmed by other
studies (Abdel-Aal el et al. 2002; Hidalgo et al. 2006;
Abdel-Aal el & Rabalski 2008). On the contrary, total
tocols were lower in KAMUT
wheat than common
wheat cultivars (Hidalgo et al. 2006; Abdel-Aal el &
Rabalski 2008).
The evaluation of the functional components of 10
Italian durum wheat cultivars highlighted remarkable
differences between modern and old genotypes
(Dinelli et al. 2009). Besides no significant differences
among investigated cultivars were detected as regards
the amounts of total phenolic and flavonoid com-
pounds, the qualitative phytochemical profile between
old and modern varieties was remarkably diverse.
Ancient wheat varieties showed a mean number of
phenolic compounds and isomer forms significantly
higher than in modern genotypes. As examples, cou-
marin was detected only in the free phenolic fraction
of the old wheat genotype KAMUT
khorasan, and
procyanidin B3 and occurred in the free phenolics of
Iride and KAMUT
khorasan wheat.
The putative functionality of KAMUT
wheat could be not only connected to its high content
of phenols and carotenoids, but also to the presence
of other molecules such as bioactive peptides, small
protein fragments that have positive effects on body
functions in humans (Kitts & Weiler 2003). In the
study by Coda et al. (2012), a pool of selected lactic
acid bacteria was used for the sourdough fermentation
of various cereal flours. The highest radical-scavenging
activity of water/salt-soluble extracts was found for
whole wheat, spelt, rye and KAMUT
demonstrating that selected lactic acid bacteria have
the capacity to synthesize antioxidant peptides during
the sourdough fermentation of these cereal flours.
The health-promoting effects of wholemeal flours
could be related to the presence of other minor com-
ponents. Pedersen et al. (2011) evidenced the presence
of benzoxazinoids, a group of natural compounds hav-
ing documented physiological effects, in hydrother-
mally processed grains of KAMUT
, a commercial
variety of rye (Secale cereale cv. Picasso) and an old
Nordic rye landrace (Secale cereale, Svedjerug), as well
as in bread baked with flour milled from those grains.
There is ample evidence that diet can modulate
both composition and functionality of the human gut
microbiota, in a complex and dynamic interplay cru-
cial for maintaining the host-microbiota mutualism
(Cotillard et al. 2013). KAMUT
wheat could be a
special raw material for improving the prebiotic prop-
erties of wheat-based products. Although the content
of soluble dietary fiber was found lower in KAMUT
flour than in grains of Triticum polonicum (average of
nine spring lines) (Wiwart et al. 2013), it was higher
than in the Italian modern durum wheat variety
Claudio (Di Silvestro et al. 2014). In addition,
fibers have been shown to have a prebiotic
effect and to promote the growth of Lactobacillus and
Bifidobacterium (Marotti et al. 2012). Taneyo Saa
et al. (2014) described for the first time the effect of
khorasan wheat on the human gut micro-
bial ecology. According to their results, the KAMUT
khorasan-based diet was mainly characterized by the
release of short fatty acids and phenol compounds, as
well as by a slight increase in health-promoting mutu-
alists of the gut microbiota in comparison to whole
durum wheat adopted as a control diet.
In vitro and animal studies
In the study by Valli et al. (2016), cookies baked
with three different whole grains flours (KAMUT
khorasan wheat grown in North America, khorasan
wheat grown in Italy, and a modern durum wheat)
and two fermentation methods (standard and lactic
fermentation) were digested in vitro and supple-
mented to cultured liver cells. Cells were then
exposed to either an oxidative or an inflammatory
stress by adding H
or lipopolysaccharides.
Overall, cell supplementation with the bioaccessible
fraction of all digested cookies evidenced protective
activities towards oxidative and inflammatory stress;
however, the extent of this protection varied from
flour to flour (KAMUT
khorasan >Italian khorasan
>durum wheat).
The aim of the study by Gianotti et al. (2011) was
to evaluate in rats whether a diet comprised exclu-
sively of bread made from whole modern durum flour
khorasan wheat flour could affect the
response to the oxidative stress induced by the admin-
istration of doxorubicin. Two different bread-making
processes were used for whole grain KAMUT
san, sourdough and bakers yeast, while whole grain
durum wheat bread was made using standard fermen-
tation (bakers yeast) only. The authors concluded that
diet based on the ancient cereal is able to supply a
variety of nutrients and bioactive components that
improve the organisms ability to defend itself against
oxidative stress, independent of the type of fermenta-
tion used to make the bread. Using a similar experi-
mental design, Benedetti et al. (2012) confirmed these
findings and demonstrated that a diet based on bread
made from KAMUT
khorasan wheat is able to
increase plasma antioxidant concentration and antioxi-
dant enzyme activity.
In addition, histologic tests on the liver evidenced
an inflammatory status in rats fed modern durum
wheat and not in rats fed KAMUT
khorasan wheat.
Feeding rats with pasta made from KAMUT
san wheat or durum wheat obtained similar results
(Carnevali et al. 2014). After 7 weeks, all of the rats
fed modern durum wheat pasta showed alteration in
the morphology of their duodenumsmucosa, with an
unusual flattening of the intestinal villus and infiltra-
tion of lymphocytes, and an increased volume of
lymph follicles in the spleen and lymph nodes. These
signs of inflammation were not present in the rats fed
pasta made from KAMUT
khorasan wheat.
Human intervention trials
Five intervention trials involving human volunteers
are reported in the literature. The first one (Scazzina
et al. 2008) evidenced that the incorporation of car-
rots, soy, and whole KAMUT
meal in a standard
wheat tortillas formulation results in a product with a
lower glycaemic index (GI) and a relatively high total
antioxidant capacity. However, the GI of tortillas
made with KAMUT
only did not differ from stand-
ard tortillas, suggesting the main contribution or the
synergistic action of other ingredients.
In the other trials, products made from KAMUT
khorasan wheat were compared to products made
with modern common and durum wheat. Both the
khorasan and the control wheat were culti-
vated in organic agriculture. Semi-whole wheat semo-
lina and flour from KAMUT
and modern wheat
were similarly processed to obtain pasta and baked
products. All studies were randomized, double-
blinded, crossover trials with two intervention phases
in which subjects were assigned to consume either the
or the control wheat.
The first study (Sofi et al. 2013) involved 22 healthy
volunteers carrying risk factors for cardiovascular dis-
eases. Volunteers were randomly divided into two
groups, assigned to consume the KAMUT
or control grain products made from organic semi-
whole-wheat for 8 weeks. Then, after an 8-weeks
washout, groups were crossed over for additional 8
weeks. The consumption of products made with
khorasan wheat resulted in a significant
reduction in blood total cholesterol (4.0%), LDL
cholesterol (7.8%) and glucose levels (from 81.1 to
78.1 mg/dL). Redox status, measured by the blood
level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances
(TBARS) and carbonyl levels was significantly
improved only after the KAMUT
intervention phase.
Furthermore, consumption of KAMUT
products resulted in a significant decrease of the level
of pro-inflammatory cytokines: tumor necrosis factor
a(TNFa,34.6%), interleukin 6 (IL6, 23.6%), inter-
leukin 12 (IL12, 28.1%) and vascular endothelial
growth factor (VEGF, 10.5%). No changes were
observed for the same patients after eating the control
products made from modern wheat.
In the second study (Sofi et al. 2014), 20 partici-
pants classified with moderate inflammatory bowel
syndrome (IBS) were divided into two groups, the first
receiving KAMUT
khorasan products and the second
modern wheat products for 6 weeks. After a 6-week
washout period, volunteers were crossed over for add-
itional 6 weeks. The IBS-GAI (Global Assessment of
Improvement) and the IBS-SSS (Symptom Severity
Scale) were used to evaluate IBS symptoms, and evi-
denced significant improvements in patients consum-
khorasan products. A concomitant
significant reduction in circulatory pro-inflammatory
cytokine levels, including interleukin 6 (36.2%),
interleukin 17 (23.3%), interferon c(33.6%) and
VEGF (23.7%) was detected after the KAMUT
khorasan wheat intervention phase.
The third trial (Whittaker et al. 2015) involved 22
patients diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome with
a cross over study design with two intervention phases
(8 weeks each, with an 8 week wash-out period) in
which subjects were assigned to consume either the
khorasan or the control wheat. Even in this
study consumption of products made with KAMUT
khorasan wheat resulted in a significant amelioration
of blood total cholesterol (6.8%), LDL cholesterol
(8.1%), glucose (8.0%) and insulin level (24.6%)
from baseline levels. Moreover, a significant reduction
in reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipoperoxidation of
circulating monocytes and lymphocytes, and circulat-
ing TNFawas detected after consumption of
products, while no changes were observed
after consumption of modern wheat products.
Last, the study by Whittaker et al. (2016) was a
randomized, double-blinded, crossover trial aimed at
testing whether a replacement diet with KAMUT
khorasan wheat products and/or control wheat prod-
ucts could provide additive benefits to type 2 diabetes
mellitus patients. Even in this study, compared to
baseline a reduction in blood total (3.7%) and LDL
cholesterol (3.4%), insulin (16.3%) and glucose
(9.1%), as well as a significant reduction in circulat-
ing levels of ROS, VEGF, and interleukin 1 receptor
antagonist (IL1Ra) were observed after consumption
products. No significant differences from
baseline were noted after the modern wheat interven-
tion phase.
Celiac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity
Celiac disease (CD) is a chronic autoimmune disease
of the intestine caused by exposure to gluten in genet-
ically predisposed subjects (Ludvigsson et al. 2013). In
Europe, South America, Australasia and the USA,
between 0.5%and 1%of the population are affected,
and a high percentage of celiac cases goes undiag-
nosed because of the large variety of symptoms
(Martucci et al. 2002). The only treatment for CD is
eliminating gluten from the diet. However, this is very
difficult because in many food products other than
pasta and baked goods contain gluten, which is also
used as an excipient in drugs and vitamin supplements
(van den Broeck et al. 2010). Furthermore, gluten-free
products (GFPs) are considered of lower quality and
poorer nutritional value compared to the gluten-con-
taining counterparts. GFPs often have a greater carbo-
hydrate and lipid content than their gluten containing
equivalents, and some commercially available GFPs
have a lower content of folates, iron and B vitamins.
In addition, some studies have reported that GFD is
associated with a lower intake of dietary fibre
(Penagini et al. 2013).
At present, it is unknown if all wheat varieties are
equally toxic to individuals with CD. In an attempt to
identify grains less toxic to celiac patients, several sci-
entists strongly focused on the analysis of grains con-
sidered forerunners of modern grains. Gregorini et al.
(2009) and Colomba and Gregorini (2012) reported
that both Graziella Ra and KAMUT
khorasan wheat
are CD toxic as the modern durum accessions, and
contain greater amounts of a-gliadin. Similarly, results
Suligoj et al. (2013) underlined strongly the need
for all cereals from the tribe Triticeae to be considered
CD toxic.
Notwithstanding, KAMUT
khorasan wheat has
been showed to have a lower percentage of epitopes
than Senatore Cappelli, a heritage durum wheat
selected and introduced over 100 years ago, and mod-
ern Claudio durum wheat and Manitoba common
wheat (Valerii et al. 2015). The concentration of glia-
din proteins carrying allergenic epitopes among the
total protein pattern can influence the inflammatory
response. Valerii et al. (2015) evidenced that wheat
proteins induce an overactivation of the pro-inflam-
matory chemokine (C-X-C motif chemokine 10,
CXCL10) in cultured peripheral blood mononucleated
cells (PBMC) from subjects with non-celiac gluten
sensitivity (NCGS), and overactivation level depends
on the cereal source from which proteins are obtained.
In this study, chemokine CXCL10 activation was
higher after exposure to modern than ancient grain
protein. This could explain, at least in part, why
wheat is reported to be better tolerated by
individuals suffering from NCGS (Molberg et al. 2005;
Spaenij-Dekking et al. 2005).
NCGS is characterized by intestinal and extra intes-
tinal symptoms that occur after the ingestion of glu-
ten-containing food in subjects in whom CD and
wheat allergy have been ruled out (Tovoli et al. 2015).
Gluten may not be the only triggers of NCGS, and
different wheat proteins such as wheat amylase and
trypsin inhibitors could contribute to the origination
of symptoms (Inomata 2009).
Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and
monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) can pro-
voke gastrointestinal symptoms through mechanisms
involving gut microbiota, gas production and fermen-
tation (Halmos et al. 2014). Some grains and cereals
are particularly rich in FODMAPs, and recent studies
have shown that a diet low in FODMAPs results in
improved symptoms in NCGS patients, supporting the
hypothesis of a major role of FODMAPs compared to
gluten (Biesiekierski et al. 2013). Although whole-grain
our from ancient wheat inhibited yeast fermentation,
fructan levels were reported similar bread and pasta
made with KAMUT
khorasan wheat and emmer and
with modern wheat (common wheat; durum) (G
et al. 2016).
The development of studies and research aimed to test
the effectiveness of preventive and protective nutrients
and food components has clarified many aspects of
the complex relationship between nutrition and well-
being. Notwithstanding, often a few things are forgot-
ten, first that our diet is based on foods and not on
individual molecules. If on one hand it is useful to
prove that a certain component has a positive effect in
the prevention of a disease, it is also important to
identify which foods contain it. Foods are complex
matrices in which that component is not present
alone, but along with many other molecules that could
have additive, synergistic or antagonist effect. In add-
ition, processing often modifies concentration and bio-
availability of the component. Finally, yet importantly,
foods having a high consumption frequency have the
highest possibility to allow the introduction of
the effective dose of the component. In one word, the
relationship among food components, food and health
must be studied with a foodomics vision (Bordoni &
Capozzi 2014).
Whole ancient grains in general, and KAMUT
khorasan wheat in particular, are an example of
synergism among different components (Gianotti et al.
2011), and can be transformed into a large variety of
products that are consumed every day. Studies
reported in this review point out the health-promoting
properties of KAMUT
khorasan wheat, not evident
in commercial modern varieties. At this stage, it is not
possible to establish whether the health effects are spe-
cific for KAMUT
khorasan wheat or all ancient
grains share them. At present, further scientific evi-
dences are needed to consider KAMUT
based products as functional foods, but results are
promising and there are several elements of great
interest that challenge the scientific community to
deepen the scientific knowledge about this ancient
grain in particular and ancient grains in general.
Disclosure statement
The authors report no potential conflict of interest.
Alessandra Bordoni
Francesca Danesi
Mattia Di Nunzio
Veronica Valli
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... Giacintucci et al. [31] compared spring emmer wheat and common wheat quality and reported that emmer wheat recorded a higher (14.4%) crude protein content than common wheat (11.8%). Bordoni et al. [32] found that the protein content in durum wheat (13.68%) is lower than those in some emmer wheat varieties considered in the present study. Sterna et al. [33] also reported that oats contain 9.7% to 17.30% protein. ...
... Contrary to our findings, Lacko-Bartošová andČurná [30] reported that the growing season has no significant influence on the fat content of emmer wheat. Lower fat content in durum wheat (2.47%) by Bordoni et al. [32] and higher fat content in oats (5.2% to 12.40%) by Sterna et al. [33] were reported compared to some of the emmer wheat varieties considered in the present study. Jocelyne et al. [34] also reported the fat content in wheat (1.73%), maize (4.18%), sorghum (3.65%), and millet (4.58%). ...
... According to Jocelyne et al. [34], the energy values in wheat, maize, sorghum, and millets were 308.22 kcal/100g, 321.79 kcal/100g, 308.84 kcal/100g, and 319.39 kcal/100g, respectively, which are lower than the energy values of emmer wheat varieties considered in the present study. Bordoni et al. [32] also reported that the energy value of durum wheat is 339 kcal/100g, which is higher than those of some emmer wheat varieties. ...
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... Wheat is the primary source of nutrition for over a third of the world's population. Wheat also provides 19% of the calories and 21% of the protein consumed by the world's population (Ali, 2017;Bordoni et al., 2017;Akan et al., 2021). Supplying the production needs for appropriate and balanced nutrition has become a major issue today and in the next years as a result of the rapid increase in population in the world and in Turkey, as well as the narrowing of production areas. ...
... Kamut1 is a trademark that has been used in marketing products of the protected cultivated T. turanicum variety QK-77 since 1990 when it was registered in the USA [42]. Kamut1 wheat grain is highly suitable for the production of pasta and other products made from durum wheat, and it is characterized by high nutritional value and health benefits [43,44]. It has low water requirements, which is an important consideration in an era of climate change [45]. ...
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... In this regard, results showed that celiac epitopes can be found in emmer, einkorn and Khorasan wheat and this suggests that these ancient grains have the ability to activate the immune response linked to celiac disease [73]. Other health benefits of ancient wheat species are related to their capacity to control obesity, to reduce the incidence of colon cancer and decrease the rate of heart disease [12,41,74]. ...
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In recent years, the attention of farmers, bakers and consumers towards ancient wheat species has been increasing. Low demands of pedo-climatic growth factors, the suitability for organic cultivation along with their high nutritional quality and their content in pro-health compounds make them extremely attractive for bakers and modern consumers, equally. On the other hand, in recent years, sourdough has gained attention due to its ability to produce new functionally active molecules with higher bioaccessibility and thus to produce bread with enhanced nutritional quality. This paper highlights the relevant nutritional profile of einkorn, spelt, emmer and Khorasan which could lead to bread with improved textural, sensorial, microbial and nutritional characteristics through sourdough fermentation. The ancient wheat species could be used as promising substitutes for common wheat flour for the design of innovative types of bread, even for special needs.
The purpose of this study was to develop functional breads with powdered Pleurotus eryngii. The breads were produced applying the traditional Italian style sourdough technology. P. eryngii powder was added to flour of tender wheat varieties (Grano Dei Miracoli, Inalettabile, Mentana, Gentilrosso, Ardito and a mix of Rieti, Verna, and Mentana) or semolina of durum wheat landrace (Saragolla) and subjected to sourdough fermentation. Sourdough inoculum was produced with selected strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) belonging to the species Levilactobacillus brevis, Weissella cibaria and Leuconostoc citreum. The addition of Pleurotus powdered (PP) (10% w/w) did not influence the fermentation process, since LAB developed until 10⁹ CFU/g after 8 h of leavening. The values of pH, TTA and organic acids of doughs prepared with PP were higher than those of control fermentation. All breads differed for height, weight loss, firmness, colour and void fraction. Sensory evaluation indicated that the bread produced with Mentana flour added with PP was mostly appreciated by the judges. Hence, only the bread processed from this wheat variety was investigated for vitamins and microelements showing an increase in B1, B2, B3, and D vitamins, total polyphenols, and beta-glucans. This work provided evidences to perform PP supplementation to increase the functional aspects of bread.
There is an increasing demand for gluten‐free foods; however, standard gluten‐free foods are deficient in nutrients. This study investigated the use of alternative grains (chia, millet and quinoa) in gluten‐free breads to evaluate their sensory properties (fresh and following a partial bake method). A sensory trial (n = 98) asked participants to consider six fresh bread samples made from chia, millet and quinoa, using 9‐point hedonic scales and check‐all‐that‐apply. A second sensory trial (n = 89) was then completed using par‐baked bread samples of the different formulations. The sensory properties and the acceptability of the bread were significantly affected by the chia and quinoa flour. The millet flour did not change the acceptability of the bread. Furthermore, the partial baking method (after 90 days of frozen storage) did not significantly affect the acceptability of the breads made with chia, millet and quinoa, but it did affect the acceptability of the control bread prepared with brown rice flour. Overall, millet flour could be incorporated into gluten‐free breads made following a partial baking method without affecting consumer acceptability. Future studies should use a trained panel to evaluate how the breads differ based on the partial baking method. Consumers were invited to evaluate seven different gluten‐free breads made from chia, millet, and quinoa. The breads were evaluated fresh and following a partial baking method (90 days of frozen storage). The millet flour and the partial baking method did not affect the acceptability of the bread.
This study aimed to evaluate the impact of breads made with two different wheat evolutionary populations (EPs), in comparison with a modern variety, on postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses. A randomized controlled crossover postprandial study involving twelve healthy subjects was conducted. Seven non-commercial breads produced with flours from two different bread wheat (T. aestivum L.) EPs (Bio2, ICARDA) and a modern bread wheat variety (Bologna) considered as control, and with two different bread-making processes (S. cerevisiae and sourdough), were specifically formulated for the study. Postprandial incremental curves, Incremental Area Under the Curve (IAUC), maximum postprandial peaks for blood glucose and plasma insulin over 2 hours after administration of isoglucidic portions of breads (50 g of available carbohydrates) were evaluated. The comparison of incremental curves, IAUC, and maximum postprandial peaks after consumption of breads formulated with EPs and control breads showed no differences among samples. Neither the flour nor the leavening technic used for the baking were effective in inducing a different postprandial response compared to the Bologna variety. EPs, being characterized by higher degree of crop genetic diversity, may have a relevant agronomic role to guarantee good and stable yields and quality under low input management in a changing climate, however, future studies are needed to better investigate their potential positive effect on human health.
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Wheat is the dominant crop in temperate countries being used for human food and livestock feed. What are the characteristics of wheat? What is the composition? Nutritional facts? What are the characteristics of the fortified wheat? What are the health effects of wheat? What are the adverse reactions to wheat? Can wheat be contaminated? Biblical verses dealing with these issues are studied from a contemporary viewpoint. Over the years, humans have recognized the many positive health benefits of wheat. However, some toxic and adverse side effects may be experienced. Nevertheless, the wheat should be included in the modern menu of human nutrition, as in ancient times.
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Purposes: The aim of the present study was to examine whether a replacement diet with products made with organic ancient khorasan wheat could provide additive protective effects in reducing glucose, insulin, lipid and inflammatory risk factors, and in restoring blood redox balance in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients compared to diet with product made with modern organic wheat. Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blinded crossover trial with two intervention phases on 21 T2DM patients (14 females, 7 males). The participants were assigned to consume products (bread, pasta, crackers and biscuits) made using semi-whole flour from organic wheat that was either from ancient khorasan wheat or modern control wheat for 8 weeks in a random order. An 8-week washout period was implemented between the interventions. Laboratory analyses were performed both at the beginning and at the end of each intervention phase. Results: The metabolic risk profile improved only after the khorasan intervention period, as measured by a reduction in total and LDL cholesterol (mean reduction: -3.7 and -3.4 %, respectively), insulin (-16.3 %) and blood glucose (-9.1 %). Similarly, there was a significant reduction in circulating levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and interleukin-1ra, and a significant increase of total antioxidant capacity (+6.3 %). No significant differences from baseline were noted after the modern control wheat intervention phase. The change (from pre- to post-intervention) between the two intervention arms was significantly different (p < 0.05) for total and LDL-c, insulin and HOMA index. Conclusions: A replacement diet with ancient khorasan wheat consumption provided additive protection in reducing total and LDL cholesterol, insulin, blood glucose, ROS production, and some inflammatory risk factors, which are all key factors warranting of control in secondary prevention of T2DM compared to a diet with products made with modern wheat.
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The aim of this study was to determine wheat constituents in bread and pasta that might result in intestinal gas production. Fructans, water-soluble arabinoxylans, arabinogalactan proteins and fermentable sugars were followed in bread and pasta made with ancient (Khorasan wheat; emmer) and modern wheats (common wheat; durum). After fermentation for 180 min, 80% of fructans were eliminated and higher levels of fructose than glucose accumulated in bread dough supplemented with sucrose. Whole-grain Khorasan wheat and emmer flours inhibited yeast fermentative activity. Half of fructans, arabinogalactan proteins and sugars were washed out in cooking water for pasta. Water-soluble wheat arabinoxylans increased in bread and cooked pasta. With very low levels (0.3-0.8%, dry basis), fructans in cooked pasta and, in particular, long-fermentation bread prepared with modern or ancient wheat would unlikely act as major gas-forming triggers of gastrointestinal discomfort associated with noncoeliac gluten sensitivity. Noncoeliac gluten sensitivity: in ancient and modern wheats, fructans (g per 100 g flour, dry basis) from bread and pasta are unlikely factors because very small amounts remain after pasta cooking and, in particular, long bread dough fermentation (180 min at 35 °C). International Journal of Food Science and Technology
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There is an increased amount of evidence showing that consumption of whole grains and whole-grain-based products is associated with a reduction of the risk of developing many diseases, due mainly to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects of their components.In this study, cookies, baked using different types of flours and fermentation methods, were digested in vitro and supplemented to cultured liver cells. Three different flours (ancient KAMUT® khorasan wheat grown in North America, ancient khorasan wheat grown in Italy, and modern durum wheat) and two different types of fermentation (standard and lactic fermentation) were used. This experimental design allowed us to supplement cells with a real food part of the human diet, and to consider possible differences related to the food matrix (types of flour) and processing (methods of fermentation). Cells were supplemented with the bioaccessible fractions derived from cookies in vitro digestion. Although results herein reported highlight the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of all the supplementations, cookies made with khorasan flours appeared the most effective, particularly when the ancient grain was grown in North America under the KAMUT® brand. In light of the attempts to produce healthier food, this study underlines the importance of the type of grain to obtain baked products with an increased nutritional and functional value.
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Ancient wheat species (einkorn, emmer, spelt and Khorasan wheat) have been suggested to have health benefits when compared with modern cultivars of bread and durum wheat. Although limited data are available on the contents and compositions of bioactive components in ancient wheat species, reported studies show that they differ little from modern wheat species in the contents of most bioactive components, and may be lower in some components (such as dietary fibre). Although einkorn, emmer and Khorasan wheat all have higher high contents of the carotenoid lutein than bread wheat, durum wheat is also rich in lutein due to selection for yellow colour. These reported analyses do not support the suggestion that ancient wheats are generally more "healthy" than modern wheats.
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A simple and reliable method for the simultaneous determination of nine phenolic compounds in barley and malted barley was established, using liquid chromatography-diode array detection-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS/MS). The phenolic compounds can be easily detected with both systems, despite significant differences in sensitivity. Concentrations approximately 180-fold lower could be achieved by mass spectrometry analysis compared to diode array detection, especially for the flavan-3-ols (+)-catechin and (−)-epicatechin, which have poor absorptivity in the UV region. Malt samples were characterized by higher phenolic content comparing to corresponding barley varieties, revealing a significant increase of the levels of (+)-catechin and (−)-epicatechin during the malting process. Moreover, the industrial malting is responsible for modification on the phenolic profile from barley to malt, namely on the synthesis or release of sinapinic acid and epicatechin. Accordingly, the selection of the malting parameters, as well as the barley variety plays an important role when considering the quality and antioxidant stability of beer.
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Khorasan wheat is an ancient grain with previously reported health benefits in clinically healthy subjects. The aim of this study was to examine whether a replacement diet, thereby substituting all other cereal grains, with products made with organic khorasan wheat could provide additive protective effects in reducing lipid, oxidative and inflammatory risk factors, in patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) in comparison to a similar replacement diet using products made from organic modern wheat. A randomized double-blinded crossover trial with two intervention phases was conducted on 22 ACS patients (9 F; 13 M). The patients were assigned to consume products (bread, pasta, biscuits and crackers) made either from organic semi-whole khorasan wheat or organic semi-whole control wheat for eight weeks in a random order. On average, patients ingested 62.0 g dry weight (DW) day−1 khorasan or control semolina; and 140.5 g DW day−1 khorasan or control flour, respectively. An eight-week washout period was implemented between the respective interventions. Blood analyses were performed both at the beginning and end of each intervention phase; thereby permitting a comparison of both the khorasan and control intervention phases, respectively, on circulatory risk factors for the same patient. Consumption of products made with khorasan wheat resulted in a significant amelioration in total cholesterol (−6.8%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (−8.1%) glucose (−8%) and insulin (−24.6%) from baseline levels, independently of age, sex, traditional risk factors, medication and diet quality. Moreover, there was a significant reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipoperoxidation of circulating monocytes and lymphocytes, as well as in the levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha. No significant differences from baseline in the same patients were observed after the conventional control wheat intervention phase. The present results suggest that a replacement diet with cereal products made from organic khorasan wheat provides additional protection in patients with ACS. Circulating cardiovascular risk factors, including lipid parameters, and markers of both oxidative stress and inflammatory status, were reduced, irrespective of the number and combination of medicinal therapies with proven efficacy in secondary prevention.
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Gluten is one of the most abundant and widely distributed components of food in many areas. It can be included in wheat, barley, rye, and grains such as oats, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale. Gluten-containing grains are widely consumed; in particular, wheat is one of the world's primary sources of food, providing up to 50% of the caloric intake in both industrialized and developing countries. Until two decades ago, celiac disease (CD) and other gluten-related disorders were believed to be exceedingly rare outside of Europe and were relatively ignored by health professionals and the global media. In recent years, however, the discovery of important diagnostic and pathogenic milestones led CD from obscurity to global prominence. In addition, interestingly, people feeding themselves with gluten-free products greatly outnumber patients affected by CD, fuelling a global consumption of gluten-free foods with approximately $2.5 billion in United States sales each year. The acknowledgment of other medical conditions related to gluten that has arisen as health problems, providing a wide spectrum of gluten-related disorders. In February 2011, a new nomenclature for gluten-related disorders was created at a consensus conference in London. In this review, we analyse innovations in the field of research that emerged after the creation of the new classification, with particular attention to the new European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition guidelines for CD and the most recent research about non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Investigations were made in order to evaluate the influence of the flour type, chemical acidification and fermentation on characteristics of doughs obtained with durum wheat and KAMUT® Khorasan flour. Doughs were observed immediately after mixing, 90 and 360min of leavening at 30°C. Fundamental rheology, yeasts heat production by isothermal microcalorimetry and the interaction between water and biopolymers by means of time domain nuclear magnetic resonance were evaluated. In addition aromatic metabolite development was followed by means of the combined application of gas-chromatography and electronic nose. KAMUT® Khorasan flour was found to be more suitable than durum wheat for the fermentation processes tested, especially at acidic conditions, as shown by the increase of the volume and the metabolic heat production by yeast. In acidified dough the pattern of volatile metabolites allowed a clear distinction between the types of dough. Moreover the water/starch proton pool was characterized by higher T2 values in the KAMUT® Khorasan samples. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Enzymatic activity often reduces the nutritional value of wheat flour during food manufacturing, causing compound degradation and/or heat damage. The choice of wheat varieties with low enzymatic activity could therefore help to preserve the nutritional quality of food. The aim of this research was to evaluate polyphenol oxidase, alpha-amylase and beta-amylase activities in whole meal flours of 59 accessions belonging to different wheat species and subspecies, cropped in two years. The extraction pH (7.0), reaction pH (5.5) and reaction temperature (45 °C) were determined by preliminary trials. The ANOVA highlighted significant differences for all enzymes among species/subspecies and, for amylases, between cropping years; however, the year influence was overwhelming only for alpha-amylase. Einkorn showed the highest polyphenol oxidase (362.1 ± 9.46 U/g DM) as well as the lowest alpha-amylase (0.20 ± 0.006 CU/g DM) and beta-amylase (12.0 ± 0.36 B3U/g DM) activities. The embryo/scutellum had the highest polyphenol oxidase and alpha-amylase values, followed by the bran and the endosperm; in contrast, beta-amylase was evenly distributed in the bran and the endosperm, and was absent in the embryo/scutellum.