The Kansas Wheat Commission is shouldering up $200,000 towards two years of research to understand all the parts of wheat’s DNA that cause problems for people with gluten sensitivities. Researchers are analyzing on various proteins in wheat that may have fallen out of favor in recent years, but may be tolerable for wider population.
Gluten is a substance in wheat that gives dough elasticity. For people with celiac disease, consuming gluten can result in intestinal problems. While a small percentage of people in the United States have celiac disease, the gluten-free diet has become widely adopted.
“If you know you are producing a crop that is not tolerated well by people, then it’s the right thing to do,” said the project’s lead researcher, Chris Miller, senior director of research for Engrain, a Kansas company that makes products to enhance the nutrition and appearance of products made by the milling and cereal industry.
Understanding the causes of celiac disease and gluten intolerance is the goal of a lot of research around the world. Some focuses on human diagnosis and treatment, and others have identified about 20 of the protein fragments in wheat that causes celiac reactions.
The research began at the Wheat Innovation Center in Manhattan, Kansas.