The outcome of Dr Florides' research includes the development of a new diagnostic method, and a database with information on the allergenicity of these wheat varieties for use by researchers and industry. It is hoped this research will contribute to the development of low-allergenic wheat varieties that could be made into products suitable for people who have mild gluten intolerance. Dr Florides was one of four graduates from the Training Centre awarded PhDs by Charles Sturt University in 2019. Other PhD graduates investigated the antioxidant properties of wholegrain cereals like rice, sorghum, barley and oats, the health benefits of Australian-grown coloured rice and the impact of water efficiency measures on the quality of rice produced. The Functional Grains Centre, led by Charles Sturt University, has focused on improving the value of grain through research on markets, production systems, grain processing and the development of high-value grain products.
Research at Charles Sturt University has disproven the idea that modern wheat varieties are somehow more allergenic than wheat grown by our ancestors. Dr Chris Florides investigated 170 wheat varieties grown in Australia from 1860 to 2015 as part of his PhD research through the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Functional Grains (The Functional Grains Centre). While examining the allergenicity of the different varieties, including those brought from England that were bred to suit Australia’s climate, he discovered that one of the most allergenic varieties was one grown in the 1800s. This contradicts a common belief that early wheat varieties were not immunogenic, and that modern genetic techniques have created wheat varieties that are more allergenic. DEBUNKING THE MYTH ABOUT WHEAT BREEDING AND ALLERGIES
WHILE IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DEVELOP COMPLETELY NON-ALLERGENIC WHEAT BECAUSE THE GLUTEN PROTEINS ARE NECESSARY FOR THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE FLOUR, RESEARCHERS HOPE THAT VARIETIES WITH A LOW CONTENT OF IMMUNOREACTIVE PROTEINS CAN NOW BE USED IN WHEAT BREEDING PROGRAMS.
Wheat. Credit: Charles Sturt University.
INDUSTRY-DRIVEN RESEARCH TO GENERATE ECONOMIC IMPACTS
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