Gluten-removed wheat pasta

By Van Waffle

Summary: The gluten-free diet presents nutritional challenges. Commercial gluten-free bread and pasta made with rice, corn and other gluten-free grains often lack the better protein balance found in wheat products and have a higher glycemic index, problematic for those at risk of type I diabetes.

A team of Italian and Finnish researchers seeking to make a more nutritious gluten-free pasta used sourdough bacteria and fungal enzymes to remove gluten from wheat flour in order to make it safe for those with celiac disease.

They fermented the wheat flour in a sourdough treated with enzymes, and then freeze-dried and milled it. R5 sandwich and competitive ELISA tests showed the flour contained less than 10 parts per million of gluten, safely below the international standard for people with celiac disease. It was combined with an equal amount of rice flour for better structure and made into pasta. Analytical tests compared the gluten-removed wheat pasta with commercial durum wheat pasta and commercial gluten-free pasta for structure and nutritive values. In a blind sample test, trained panelists compared samples for flavor, texture and other sensory properties.

Conclusion: The experimental product showed good nutritive values. It contained more digestible protein than regular wheat and gluten-free commercial pastas. Sourdough fermentation appeared to make more nutrients available. It also conferred a mildly unusual flavor, which panelists found acceptable. Compared to gluten-free pasta from rice and corn, it contained less carbohydrates and fats, with tests indicating a lower glycemic index. It had good texture and cooked faster than commercial wheat and gluten-free pasta. Much recent research has been devoted to extending the nutrition and variety of gluten-free foods available. This study establishes a protocol for manufacturing pasta made from wheat. R5 sandwich and competitive ELISA analysis of the wheat dough after fermentation found less than 10 parts per million (ppm) gluten. However, the safety and testability of fermented wheat products remain controversial.


[1] “Manufacture and characterization of pasta made with wheat flour rendered gluten-free using fungal proteases and selected sourdough lactic acid bacteria”, Curiel AC, Coda R, Limitone A, Katina K, Raulio M, Giuliani G, Rizzello CG, Gobbetti M, #Journal of Cereal Science#, 2014 Jan; 59(1):79-87, doi:10.1016/j.jcs.2013.09.011.