Comparing wheat allergenicity in ancient and modern wheats
Term: 3 years, beginning in 2017
Funding Amount: $ 98,210
Lead Researcher(s): Dr Ravindra Chibbar (U of S)
Funding Partners: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF); Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF).
This project is the first intensive study focused on characterizing the wheat gluten protein complex from a historical set of 37 CWRS wheat varieties, to study changes in glutenin and gliadin subunits over time and to identify specific changes or not both in quantity and quality in Celiac disease (CD) causing epitopes in wheat gluten complex proteins.
Wheat is a very nutritious grain and a staple component of human diet all around the globe. However, the myths propagated by the social media and some non-science based books have suggested that modern day wheat varieties cause several chronic diseases and the gluten protein complex in the modern-day wheats has changed, resulting in an increased incidence of celiac disease and other wheat grain protein induced sensitivities in humans. The proposed research project will address the questions related to wheat protein sensitivity and wheat intolerance by selected population in a scientific manner. The objectives include studying the diversity in glutenin and gliadin subunits in CWRS wheat varieties developed over a century of wheat improvement and analysing the diversity in CD epitopes in heritage and modern wheat varieties.
Successful completion of this project will provide science based evidence to challenge / support the claims made in popular fad diet based books. This will allow wheat consumers to make judicious diet choices to include wheat and help the wheat industry to grow.