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Effetti del consumo a breve termine di pane ottenuto da una vecchia varietà di frumento italiano sulle variabili lipidiche, infiammatorie ed emoreologiche: uno studio di intervento

Francesco Sofi, Lisetta Ghiselli, Francesca Cesari, Anna Maria Gori, Lucia Mannini, Alessandro Casini, Concetta Vazzana, Vincenzo Vecchio, Gian Franco Gensini, Rosanna Abbate, Stefano Benedettelli
Scopo di questo studio è valutare l’influenza del consumo alimentare a breve termine di pane ottenuto da una vecchia varietà selezionata di frumento che cresce in Toscana, Italia, su alcuni parametri relativi al processo aterosclerotico. Venti soggetti sani (età media 39,5 anni) hanno seguito per 10 settimane una dieta contenente il pane (150 gr al giorno) prodotto con il frumento testato (periodo di prova) e per lo stesso periodo una dieta contenente pane disponibile in commercio nella stessa quantità (periodo di controllo). I profili lipidici, infiammatori ed emoreologici sono stati valutati prima e dopo l’intervento alimentare. Il periodo di prova ha mostrato un significativo incremento (P <,05) del colesterolo totale (prima dell’intervento 211,2 ± 10,8 mg/dL; dopo l’intervento 196,5 ± 9,8 mg/dL) e dei livelli di colesterolo lipoproteico a bassa densità (prima dell’intervento 137,5 ± 8,1 mg/dL; dopo l’intervento 119,5 ± 7,5 mg/dL), mentre non sono stati osservati dei cambiamenti significativi nel periodo di controllo. Per quanto riguarda i parametri infiammatori ed emoreologici, il periodo di prova ha mostrato un significativo decremento di alcuni dei parametri oggetto d’indagine (interleuchina‐8 [pre‐intervento vs. post‐intervento 67,4 ± 10,7 vs. 43,9 ± 4,1 pg/mL], viscosità del sangue umano a velocità di taglio alta [rispettivamente 4,36 ±0,03 vs. 4,32 ± 0,03 mPa *s] e bassa [rispettivamente 26,1 ± 0,4 vs. 24,8 ± 0,5 mPa *s], e filtrazione degli eritrociti [rispettivamente 8,4 ± 0,7% vs. 9,1 ± 0,6%]) relativi al periodo di controllo, che non ha mostrato significativi cambiamenti. Il consumo alimentare a breve termine di pane integrale ottenuto da una vecchia varietà di frumento sembra imporre condizioni ottimali per quanto riguarda i più bassi livelli correnti di markers aterosclerotici.

Nutritional characteristics of ancient Tuscan varieties of Triticum aestivum L.

Italian Journal of Agronomy 

Lisetta Ghiselli, Eleonora Rossi, Anne Whittaker, Giovanni Dinelli, Adriano Pasqualino Baglio, Luisa Andrenelli, Stefano Benedettelli
Maggio 2016
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an important cereal in human consumption. In recent
years, there has been a growing interest in ancient wheat varieties. The latter represent an
important source of germplasm, characterized by a broader genetic base and, therefore, a
potential source of biodiversity.
The objective of the study was to ascertain the optimal balance between the presence of
secondary metabolites having beneficial effects on health and technological features that ensure successful baking quality.
The experimental trial was performed in 2011-2012 on three organic farms located in three
different areas within the province of Siena (Tuscany). In each location, an overall evaluation of the commercial, rheological and functional properties of five ancient Tuscan bread wheat
varieties (Andriolo, Frassineto, Gentil rosso, Inallettabile 96, Verna) as compared with a
commercial modern variety (Palesio) was carried out. The ancient varieties were compared both singularly (pure) and in combination (mixtures) of two varieties in equal proportion,
respectively. Biometric and productive parameters were detected for each plot (32 plots in each farm). Macro- and trace elements, polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidant activity (ARP) were similarly determined on representative whole grain samples. Rheological analysis was carried out on flour samples. The multivariate statistical analysis using principal components (PC) analysis was performed on all variables analysed.
The results showed a significant environment effect on the different parameters measured and did not reveal significant improvements in the variables measured when varieties were cultivated in mixtures. However, the study did reveal various interesting trends that are warranting of further investigation.
The most interesting effect from a nutritional and functional point of view is the relationship
between ARP, rheological properties, protein content and gluten content. These connections
permit the potential towards the improvement of ancient varieties.

Environment and genotype effects on antioxidant properties of organically grown wheat varieties: a 3-year study

Wiley Online Library 

Raffaella Di Silvestro, Alessandro Di Loreto, Sara Bosi, Valeria Bregola, Ilaria Marotti, Stefano Benedettelli, Antonio Segura-Carretero, Giovanni Dinelli
Maggio 2016
Wheat grain (Triticum aestivum L.) possesses significant amounts of antioxidants that contribute to the dietary antiradical protection against a number of chronic diseases. Despite the increasing interest in organic food among both consumers and scientists, the availability of literature studies concerning the environment effect under organic management is still scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant properties of wheat varieties by considering the genotype response to different environmental factors under biodynamicmanagement.
The soluble fraction of phenolic compounds wasmainly determined by the environment, whereas amajor genotypic effectwas observed for the bound forms, whichwere present at higher amounts in red grain varieties. Moreover, a predominant effect of genotype was observed for yellow pigment content and antioxidant activity determined by the FRAP method. Despite some changes induced by environment, most genotypes had stable antioxidant properties and different phenolic profiles as determinedby high-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry, except for the old variety Inallettabile,whichwas themost sensitive to environmental fluctuations.
The red grain varieties Andriolo, Gentil rosso and Verna were identified as the most promising breedingmaterial for the development of varieties with high nutraceutical value under low-input management.

Agronomic and quality characteristics of old, modern and mixturewheat varieties and landraces for organic bread chain in diverseenvironments of northern Italy

European Journal of Agronomy

Paola Migliorini, Sandra Spagnolo, Luisa Torri, Marco Arnoulet, Giulio Lazzerini, Salvatore Ceccarelli
Maggio 2016
Wheat landraces and old varieties could have an important role for food security not only as source ofgene readily available for breeders, but also because they perform well in marginal environments andare more resilient as compared to the modern cultivars. The Italian cereal sector suffers from lack ofseed companies that breed specifically adapted varieties for organic and biodynamic farms. Participa-tory and evolutionary plant breeding (PPB and EPB) have been used in this research to (i) evaluate theagronomic characteristics of old, modern and mixture of varieties and landrace of bread wheat (Triticumaestivum spp.) and their adaptability to organic farming in hilly and mountainous areas; (ii) assess thetechnological, nutritional and functional properties of grains (rheological characteristic, macro and microelements contents and antioxidants); (iii) explore the consumers’ preferences for breads obtained by oldand modern varieties. Between five and seven old (Sieve, Verna, Gentil Rosso, Andriolo, Gambo di ferro,Frassineto and Abbondanza), two mixtures and four modern (Bolero, Blasco, Arabia and Bologna) vari-eties were tested for two years in between two and three organic farms (FARM1, FARM2 and FARM3) inhilly areas of Piedmont. Agronomic characteristic were strongly affected by locations and years. On aver-age, Bologna, Abbondanza and Arabia, and the two mixtures were the highest yielding varieties. Flourstrength (W) varied greatly ranging from 230 in 2011 for Andriolo to 38 in 2012 for Gambo di ferro. Glutenquality, expressed by GI, was found to be almost within the optimal range but was affected by the year.All six bread samples were acceptable to the 233 consumers who scored them, but the bread producedwith old wheat varieties, particularly with Andriolo and Gambo di Ferro, was the preferred one. The oldvarieties and their mixtures yielded less than the modern varieties but with higher stability as shownby the inability of the modern varieties in FARM1 to survive the winter (they were not harvested) whilethe old varieties reached maturity showing higher robustness, Therefore, the use of old bread wheatvarieties and their mixture, assessed with participatory and evolutionary plant breeding, could representa strategy for local communities to cope with climate change while improving food security and foodquality.

Ancient wheat species and human health: Biochemical and clinical implications

Journal of Nutritional Biochemestry

Monica Dinu, Anne Whittaker, Giuditta Pagliai, Stefano Benedettelli, Francesco Sofi
Settembre 2017
Wheat is the major staple food in many diets. Based on the increase in worldwide mortality attributable to diet-related chronic diseases, there is an increasing interest in identifying wheat species with greater health potential, more specifically for improved anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, ancient varieties (defined as those species that have remained unchanged over the last hundred years) are gaining interest since several studies suggested that they present a healthier nutritional profile than modern wheats. This manuscript reviews the nutritional value and health benefits of ancient wheats varieties, providing a summary of all in vitro, ex vivo, animal and human studies that have thus far been published. Differences in chemical composition, and biochemical and clinical implications of emmer, einkorn, spelt, khorasan and various regional Italian varieties are discussed. Although many studies based on in vitro analyses of grain components provide support to the premise of a healthier nutritional and functional potential of ancient wheat, other in vitro studies performed are not in support of an improved potential of ancient varieties. In the light of existing evidence derived from in vivo experiments, the ancient wheat varieties have shown convincing beneficial effects on various parameters linked to cardio-metabolic diseases such as lipid and glycaemic profiles, as well as the inflammatory and oxidative status. However, given the limited number of human trials, it is not possible to definitively conclude that ancient wheat varieties are superior to all modern counterparts in reducing chronic disease risk.

Evaluation of genetic variation and grain quality of old bread wheat varieties introduced in north-western Italian environments

Springer Science+Business Media

Angela R. Piergiovanni
Aprile 2012
The increasing consumers’ request for new speciality wheat derivatives and the possible widening of marketing opportunities is giving to both landraces and old varieties, new chance of on farm survival providing a low cost way to safeguard these important genetic resources. A farmer’s consortium acting in north-western Italy, is attempting the introduction of some old bread wheat landraces in marginal environments of Piedmont and Liguria regions. The reason of this attempt is the local market demand of old bread varieties suitable for the preparation of traditional cakes and biscuits. Three Italian bread wheat landraces, a mixture of durum and bread wheat landraces and three modern varieties were evaluated. The entries were cropped in Val Borbera and Val d’Aveto (Piedmont and Liguria region, respectively) in the same growing season (2009–2010). The high variation of gliadin profile detected within the landraces indicates that all have retained the genetic heterogeneity typical of the old wheat landraces. In consequence of the health-promoting effects of whole grain consumption, eleven nutritional and technological traits of whole flours were investigated. The analysis of collected data revealed appreciable differences among the flours obtained from the landraces and the modern varieties. These differences can be mainly attributed to the intensive breeding carried out on bread wheat in the last century. The results of this study suggest that the old bread wheat landraces could have good chance of survive on farm when their characteristics fulfil the requirements of local communities.

Potential of sourdough for healthier cereal products

Trends in Food Science & Technology

K. Katina, E. Arendt, K.-H. Liukkonen, K. Autio, L. Flander, K. Poutanen
Gennaio 2005
Sourdough fermentation has a well-established role in improving flavour and structure of bread. However, the significant potential of sourdough fermentation to improve the nutritional properties of rye, oat and wheat products has gained much less attention, although the interest is at present increasing. Sourdough fermentation can modify healthiness of cereals in a number of ways: it can improve texture and palatability of whole grain, fibre-rich or glutenfree products, stabilise or increase levels of various bioactive compounds, retard starch bioavailability (low glyceamic index products) and improve mineral bioavailability. Many new interesting applications for sourdough remain still to be explored, such as the use of prebiotic starter cultures or production of totally new types of bioactive compounds.

Responses of peripheral blood mononucleated cells from non-celiac gluten sensitive patients to various cereal sources

Trends in Food Science & Technology

Maria Chiara Valerii, Chiara Ricci, Enzo Spisini, Raffaella Di Silvestro, Luigia De Fazio, Elena Cavazza, Alberto Lanzini, Massimo Campieri, Alessandro Dalpiaz, Barbara Pavan, Umberto Volta, Giovanni Dinelli
Dicembre 2014
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is still an undefined syndrome whose triggering mechanisms remain unsettled. This study aimed to clarify how cultured peripheral blood mononucleated cells (PBMC) obtained from NCGS patients responded to contact with wheat proteins. Results demonstrated that wheat protein induced an overactivation of the proinflammatory chemokine CXCL10 in PBMC from NCGS patients, and that the overactivation level depends on the cereal source from which proteins are obtained. CXCL10 is able to decrease the transepithelial resistance of monolayers of normal colonocytes (NCM 460) by diminishing the mRNA expression of cadherin-1 (CDH1) and tight junction protein 2 (TJP2), two primary components of the tight junction strands. Thus, CXCL10 overactivation is one of the mechanisms triggered by wheat proteins in PBMC obtained from NCGS patients. This mechanism is activated to a greater extent by proteins from modern with respect to those extracted from ancient wheat genotypes.

Health-promoting phytochemicals of Italian common wheat varieties grown under low-input agricultural management

PubMed, Wiley Online Library

Raffaella Di Silvestro, Ilaria Marotti, Sara Bosi, Valeria Bregola, Antonio Segura Carretero, Ivana Sedej, Anamarija Mandic, Marijana Sakac, Stefano Benedettelli, Giovanni Dinelli
Dicembre 2011


The increasing interest in organic food products and environmental friendly practices has emphasised the importance of selecting crop varieties suitable for the low-input sector. Moreover, in recent years the relationship between diet and human health has gained much attention among consumers. The aim of this study was to comparatively evaluate the agronomic performance and the nutrient and phytochemical composition of old and modern Italian wheat genotypes grown under low-input management.


Research highlighted that several old wheat genotypes were comparable to the modern ones in terms of agronomic performance and nutrient content. Genotype and environmental conditions (growing season), as well as their interaction, significantly affected the phytochemical composition of wheat grains for most of the analysed bioactive compounds. High variability was observed among the wheat genotypes for dietary fibre (154.7–183.3 g kg−1), polyphenol (1.94–2.77 mg g−1), tocopherol (9.1–21.2mg kg−1) and carotenoid (701.4–3243 μg kg−1) content.
The comparative study of old and modern wheat varieties highlighted that, under low-input conditions, ancient genotypes may equal modern ones in terms of agronomic traits and additionally provide nutraceutical value-added wheat grains. The most promising ancient varieties for the unique phytochemical profiles are Gentil rosso, Marzuolo d’aqui and Verna.

Sourdough and cereal fermentation in a nutritional perspective

Food Microbiology

Kaisa Poutanen, Laura Flander, Kati Katina
Luglio 2009
Use of sourdough is of expanding interest for improvement of flavour, structure and stability of baked goods. Cereal fermentations also show significant potential in improvement and design of the nutritional quality and health effects of foods and ingredients. In addition to improving the sensory quality of whole grain, fibre-rich or gluten-free products, sourdough can also actively retard starch digestibility leading to low glycemic responses, modulate levels and bioaccessibility of bioactive compounds, and improve mineral bioavailability. Cereal fermentation may produce non-digestible polysaccharides, or modify accessibility of the grain fibre complex to gut microbiota. It has also been suggested that degradation of gluten may render bread better suitable for celiac persons. The changes in cereal matrix potentially leading to improved nutritional quality are numerous. They include acid production, suggested to retard starch digestibility, and to adjust pH to a range which favours the action of certain endogenous enzymes, thus changing the bioavailability pattern of minerals and phytochemicals. This is especially beneficial in products rich in bran to deliver minerals and potentially protective compounds in the blood circulation. The action of enzymes during fermentation also causes hydrolysis and solubilisation of grain macromolecules, such as proteins and cell wall polysaccharides. This changes product texture, whichmay affect nutrient and non-nutrient absorption.Newbioactive compounds, such as prebiotic oligosaccharides or other metabolites, may also be formed in cereal fermentations.

Presence of celiac disease epitopes in modern and old hexaploid wheat varieties: wheat breeding may have contributed to increased prevalence of celiac disease

Original Paper

Hetty C. van den Broeck, Hein C. de Jong, Elma M. J. Salentijn, Liesbeth Dekking, Dirk Bosch, Rob J. Hamer, Ludovicus J. W. J. Gilissen, Ingrid M. van der Meer, Marinus J. M. Smulders
Giugno 2010

Gluten proteins from wheat can induce celiac disease (CD) in genetically susceptible individuals. SpeciWc gluten peptides can be presented by antigen presenting cells to gluten-sensitive T-cell lymphocytes leading to CD. During the last decades, a signiWcant increase has been observed in the prevalence of CD. This may partly be attributed to an increase in awareness and to improved diagnostic techniques, but increased wheat and gluten consumption is also considered a major cause. To analyze whether wheat breeding contributed to the increase of the prevalence of CD, we have compared the genetic diversity of gluten proteins for the presence of two CD epitopes (Glia-alpha 9 and Glia-alpha 20) in 36 modern European wheat varieties and in 50 landraces representing the wheat varieties grown up to around a century ago. Glia-alpha 9 is a major (immunodominant) epitope that is recognized by the majority of CD patients. The minor Glia-alpha 20 was included as a technical reference. Overall, the presence of the Glia-alpha 9 epitope was higher in the modern varieties, whereas the presence of the Glia-alpha 20 epitope was lower, as compared to the landraces. This suggests that modern wheat breeding practices may have led to an increased exposure to CD epitopes. On the other hand, some modern varieties and landraces have been identiWed that have relatively low contents of both epitopes. Such selected lines may serve as a start to breed wheat for the introduction of ‘low CD toxic’ as a new breeding trait. Large-scale culture and consumption of such varieties would considerably aid in decreasing the prevalence of CD.