Cereal grains play a vital role in a healthy diet. One benefit is that they’re great sources of protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, magnesium, iron, folic acid, and minerals. Proteins are very large molecules composed of amino acids. Gluten is a structural protein naturally found in certain cereal grains including wheat, barley, rye and some oat cultivars, as well as any cross hybrids of these grains (such as triticale). Two of the naturally occurring proteins in flour are called glutenin and gliadin; glutenin provides strength or elasticity and gliadin provides extensibility or stretchiness. Gluten is formed when two classes of water-insoluble proteins in wheat flour (glutenin and gliadin) are hydrated with water and mixed.

Wheat is one of the most multi-purpose grains when it comes to health and nutritional value. Grains containing gluten are used as ingredients for a wide range of prepared and commercial foods which increase their protein content, dough strength, elasticity and uniform shape of products, water absorption and retention, enhanced flavor, softness and extend shelf life. Commercial gluten is available as either a dried powder or in a wet form.

Gluten is a naturally low-fat protein source and basically sodium-free. It is a protein, choice for people who don't want to eat meat because they have high cholesterol or other health problems. It's also suitable for people who are allergic to soya or dairy and cannot get their protein from those sources.

Gluten has many health benefits such as controlling obesity, preventing type 2 diabetes, improving metabolism, reducing chronic inflammation, preventing gallstones, preventing breast cancer, promoting gastrointestinal health in females, protecting from childhood asthma, and preventing heart disease. Eating enough fiber through foods, for example, whole-wheat bread can promote digestive health and weight control. Most people can tolerate gluten with no adverse effects. However, it can cause problems for people with certain health conditions which includes celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, and some other diseases.

In Bangladesh, around 80% of wheat grain is imported each year for preparing bakery items and industrial purposes. ACI Seed developed two high-yielding wheat lines which are developed for the first time by the private sector in Bangladesh. These varieties contain 28-32% gluten which is the prime requirement for making bakery products and other industrial usages of wheat. The extension and popularization of ACI Gom -1 and ACI Gom -2 will minimize wheat grain import dependency. To satisfy both the taste and metabolism, we need to ensure the nutritional value and wide use of gluten enrich wheat or other species of wheat as the primary ingredient of various foods in an efficient manner.

Mohsina Afreen
Associate Scientist