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J Cereal Sci. 2018 Jan;79:469-476. doi: 10.1016/j.jcs.2017.11.010.

Do ancient types of wheat have health benefits compared with modern bread wheat?

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Department of Plant Science, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK.
School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Earley Gate, Reading RG6 6AR, UK.


A number of studies have suggested that ancient wheats have health benefits compared with modern bread wheat. However, the mechanisms are unclear and limited numbers of genotypes have been studied, with a particular focus on Kamut® (Khorasan wheat). This is important because published analyses have shown wide variation in composition between genotypes, with further effects of growth conditions. The present article therefore critically reviews published comparisons of the health benefits of ancient and modern wheats, in relation to the selection and growth of the lines, including dietary interventions and comparisons of adverse effects (allergy, intolerance, sensitivity). It is concluded that further studies are urgently required, particularly from a wider range of research groups, but also on a wider range of genotypes of ancient and modern wheat species. Furthermore, although most published studies have made efforts to ensure the comparability of material in terms of growth conditions and processing, it is essential that these are standardised in future studies and this should perhaps be a condition of publication.


Allergy; Ancient wheat; Health benefits; Intolerance

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