Friday, February 18, 2022

History of gluten

Gluten is a Latin word that means “glue,” due to its ability to hold grains like wheat, barley, and rye together. While gluten sensitivity was first suspected by Aretaeus of Cappadocia in the 3rd century A.D., it was only in the 20th century that celiac disease was truly discovered and named by the medical community.

Gluten was discovered by Jacopo Bartolomeo Beccari, in Bologna (Italy) in 1728. However, the lixiviation process still used today to get gluten and the chemical characterization of this new material was performed by the physician Johannes Kesselmeyer in Strasbourg (France), in 1759.
Since then more systematic studies have been carried out, notably by TB Osborne (1859–1929) who can be regarded as the father of plant protein chemistry.

He develops a broad classification of proteins based on their extraction in a series of solvents. This extraction is often performed sequentially (and called “Osborne fractionation”) with the four Osborne fractions being called
*Albumins (soluble in water),
*Globulins (soluble in dilute saline), prolamins (soluble in 60–70% alcohol), and
*Glutelin (insoluble in the other solvents but may be extracted in alkali).

Celiac disease is a common disorder that was first identified in the early 1900s. Multiple diets were used to treat celiac disease until 1953, when Dicke, Weijers, and van de Kamer identified gluten as the cause of the symptoms.

During times when bread was scarce, the health of these children improved, but when Allied planes brought bread for them to eat, their conditions got worse. Dicke documented a host of seminal papers a few years later, highlighting the role gluten derived from wheat and rye plays in celiac disease.

After Dicke announced his conclusions, many researchers began to study gluten for an improvement of medical knowledge.
History of gluten