School of Science
Foreign Experts Bureau of Henan Province
Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the ingestion of gluten that is associated with gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and malabsorption. Gluten is a general name for a class of cereal storage proteins of wheat, barley, and rye that are notably resistant to gastrointestinal digestion. After ingestion, immunogenic peptides are subsequently recognized by T cells in the gastrointestinal tract. The only treatment for CD is a life-long gluten-free diet. As such, it is critical to detect gluten in diverse food types, including those where one would not expect to find gluten. The utility of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) using cereal-specific peptide markers to detect gluten in heavily processed food types was assessed. A range of breakfast products, including breakfast cereals, breakfast bars, milk-based breakfast drinks, powdered drinks, and a savory spread, were tested. No gluten was detected by LC-MS in the food products labeled gluten-free, yet enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) measurement revealed inconsistencies in barley-containing products. In products containing wheat, rye, barley, and oats as labeled ingredients, gluten proteins were readily detected using discovery proteomics. Panels comprising ten cereal-specific peptide markers were analyzed by targeted proteomics, providing evidence that LC-MS could detect and differentiate gluten in complex matrices, including baked goods and milk-based products.
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