The prolamins of wheat, rye, and barley contain structures that are harmful to gluten-sensitive people, and an extensive degradation of these prolamins during food processing might eliminate this problem. Sourdough fermentation is a cereal food process during which some protein degradation occurs. In this study, the prolamin hydrolysis that occurred in a high-proteolytic-activity germinated-wheat sourdough (GWSD) was compared with that of wheat sourdough systems which contained moderate or no proteolytic activities. Virtually all of the wheat prolamins (gliadins and glutenins) were degraded during the GWSD fermentation. Quantification of its prolamin levels confirmed that extensive prolamin hydrolysis had occurred in the GWSD. This hydrolysis was attributed to the cysteine proteinase activities of the germinated wheat. The use of high-proteolytic sourdoughs in baking could make it possible to prepare new low-prolamin cereal-based products for use by gluten-sensitive people, who could then diversify their diets by including these whole grain containing products into their every day diets.
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