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Nutritional properties of ancient wheats available on the Belgian market

Output: Contribution to conferencePoster


  • Lori Daelemans
  • Ingrid De Leyn
  • Melissa Camerlinck
  • Katleen Raes
  • Pieter Vermeir
  • Filip Van Bockstaele
There is an increasing interest in ancient wheats from farmers, companies and consumers. To be able to apply these ancient wheats in bakery products, more knowledge is necessary on the quality, processability and nutritional properties of the cereals and derived meal or flour. The old common wheats are believed to have superior nutritional properties to the modern ones due to the “yield dilution phenomenon” causing lower micronutrient contents. However, information on the quality aspects and nutritional properties of ancient wheats in Belgium is scarce, especially of refined flour. In Alterbake, a research project, the application possibilities of ancient wheats were investigated. A sample set of ancient wheats including einkorn (T. monococcum), emmer wheat (T. dicoccum) and khorasan wheat (T. turgidum spp. turanicum) was purchased from local suppliers. Grains were dehulled (JK Machinery spelt dehuller) and milled (Bühler pilot mill) to refined flour and wholemeal flour (hammer mill). The aim of this study was to compare the ancient wheats to each other and modern wheat (reference USDA) in macro nutrients (ash, protein, fat, fibre), micronutrients (Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Na, P, Zn) and vitamins (vit B1, B2 and E) content. The influence of milling on these values was investigated. Finally also some functional properties related to chemical composition were compared (gluten content and strength, Zeleny sedimentation value, amount of damaged starch , protein and starch digestibility) Statistical differences were determined by 2-way ANOVA and post-hoc tests (p<0.05). The fat content of einkorn was higher than emmer, which was higher than khorasan. Fibre content of all ancient wheats was low compared to bread wheat. Protein content of the ancient wheats was high, as described in literature. However, high protein content does not guarantee good protein quality. Zeleny sedimentation values of einkorn were <11ml, emmer and khorasan had higher values, yet still much lower than bread wheat (38 ml). Wet gluten content (WGC) and gluten index (GI) could not be determined for einkorn, since it clogged the sieve. WGC of emmer and khorasan were similar to common wheat, but GI, respectively 46 and 56, were much lower than for common wheat (95). Finally damaged starch content of einkorn was low (3.2%) because of their soft texture. Protein and starch digestibility of the ancient wheats showed small differences. Vitamin B1 content was similar in emmer wheat to bread wheat (ca. 0.3mg/100g). Einkorn and khorasan showed higher levels, 0.43 mg/100g and 0.45 mg/100g on average, respectively. Vitamin B2 was similar for all ancient wheats (0.08 mg/100g), but lower than the vitamin B2 content of bread wheat. Vitamin E was low in einkorn kernels, similar to wheat in emmer kernels and higher in khorasan kernels. Milling has a strong negative influence on the vitamin and mineral content. All ancient wheats have either similar mineral content to common wheat or elevated values. Emmer had the highest mineral content (Ca, K, Mg, P, Fe, Zn) in refined flour, einkorn showed high macro mineral (Ca, K, P) content, emmer wheat high micro nutrient (Fe, Na, Zn) content in the kernel. The ancient wheats have high mineral, protein and fat content, but low fibre content when compared to common wheat. Einkorn in specific, but the ancient wheats in general, have weak protein quality (compared to bread wheat). Vitamin B1 content of einkorn and Kamut was superior to bread wheat, while vitamin E content in emmer was higher than in bread wheat.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 24-Apr-2019

ID: 18913408