Oats on a Swedish field. Credit: Professor Olaf Olson

The study is published in Nature deciphered the oat genome and explained why the popular cereal may be suitable for most people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

The findings will also boost Australia’s already leading global oat industry, giving a new insight into varieties that are more nutritious and more resistant to drought and disease.

Researchers from Edith Cowen University (ECU), the Australian National Research Agency CSIRO and WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research) have played a key role in international cooperation led by Lund University, the ScanOats Center for Industrial Research and Helmholtz in Munich.

Tracking the health benefits of oats

Knowing genome sequence allows researchers to better understand which genes are responsible for which traits.

Professor Michelle Colgrave of ECU and CSIRO said the researchers were particularly interested in finding out why oatmeal products cause fewer allergies and intolerances compared to other cereals such as wheat or rye.

“We found that oats have fewer gluten-corresponding proteins in wheat, which triggers an immune response in people with celiac disease».

“This allowed us to confirm both the gene (DNA) and protein levelsthat oats contain fewer protein sequences that are known to cause food allergies and intolerances, ”she said.

Compared to other cereals, oats also contain a much higher proportion of beta-glucans, which lower blood cholesterol and have a positive effect on people with metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Good news for celiac patients

Associate Professor Jason Tai-Din of WEHI said the study provides confidence in the safety of oats for people with celiac disease and brings us closer to a safe inclusion in a gluten-free diet.

“Concerns that oats contain gluten-like proteins that may be harmful to people with celiac disease have meant that in Australia and New Zealand oats are now excluded from gluten-free diet“he said.

People who eat a very restrictive gluten-free diet have less whole grain intake and may suffer from heart disease. But the inclusion of oats can overcome many of these adverse effects.

“The results of this study tell us that genes encoding potentially harmful gluten-like sequences are rare, low in expression, and the sequences themselves are less likely to cause inflammation,” he said.

“These characteristics mean that oats have a closer genomic and protein similarity to rice, which is safe in celiac disease than wheat and other cereals rich in gluten.”

New potential for breeding

Oats are interesting not only because of their innate health benefits; their cultivation also requires fewer treatments of insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers compared to other cereals.

Thanks to a new understanding of the oat genome, it is now possible to accelerate the breeding and cultivation of more nutritious and sustainable oats.

“The free resources created in this collaboration are essentially a plan for oats and increase breeding potential to identify specific traits,” says Professor Colgrave.

“It could be high in protein to meet growing demand for plant sources protein to meet our growing population. ”

Dr Angela Juhas of Edith Cowen University said the findings could be a great boon for Australia’s oat industry.

“A study by ECU and CSIRO allows us to identify not only proteins associated with gluten-like traits in oats, but also characteristics that can increase crop yields, increase nutrition and make them more resistant to disease and drought,” she said.

“This could give Australian producers a unique differentiated grain to maintain Australia’s position as a supplier of high quality grain that brings certain health benefits to Australians.”

Consumer health: who needs a gluten-free diet and why?

Additional information:
Nick Siriowski, Mosaic Genome of Oats gives an idea of ​​a uniquely healthy cereal crop, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-022-04732-y. www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04732-y

Citation: Porridge suitable for celiac disease? Studies show that the answer may be oats (2022, May 18), received on May 18, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-celiac-friendly-cereal-oats.html

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