Food processing and breeding strategies for coeliac-safe and healthy wheat products

Aurélie Jouanin, Luud J.W.J. Gilissen, Lesley A. Boyd, James Cockram, Fiona J. Leigh, Emma J. Wallington, Hetty C. van den Broeck, Ingrid M. van der Meer, Jan G. Schaart, Richard G.F. Visser, Rene Smulders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


A strict gluten-free diet is currently the only treatment for the 1-2% of the world population who suffer from coeliac disease (CD). However, due to the presence of wheat and wheat derivatives in many food products, avoiding gluten consumption is difficult. Gluten-free products, made without wheat, barley or rye, typically require the inclusion of numerous additives, resulting in products that are often less healthy than gluten-based equivalents. Here, we present and discuss two broad approaches to decrease wheat gluten immunogenicity for CD patients. The first approach is based on food processing strategies, which aim to remove gliadins or all gluten from edible products. We find that several of the candidate food processing techniques to produce low gluten-immunogenic products from wheat already exist. The second approach focuses on wheat breeding strategies to remove immunogenic epitopes from the gluten proteins, while maintaining their food-processing properties. A combination of breeding strategies, including mutation breeding and possibly genome editing, will be necessary to produce coeliac-safe wheat. Individuals suffering from CD and people genetically susceptible who may develop CD after prolonged gluten consumption would benefit from reduced CD-immunogenic wheat. Although the production of healthy and less CD-toxic wheat varieties and food products will be challenging, increasing global demand may require these issues to be addressed in the near future by food processing and cereal breeding companies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
JournalFood Research International
Early online date31 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Coeliac disease
  • Food processing
  • Genome editing
  • Gliadin
  • Gluten
  • Mutation breeding
  • Plant breeding
  • T cell epitope

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