Scientists have developed gluten-free beer made from teff, a small cereal native to Ethiopia,providing an alternate beverage option to people who are allergic to the protein complex. Researchers from University of Perugia in Italy examined, for the first time, the potential of a variety of teff called Witkop as a raw material for malting and brewing.
They examined the Witkop teff malting process, in which grains are steeped, germinated and dried, to determine the optimum conditions. The team found that Witkop teff took longer to malt than barley, and that the teff had different enzymes to break down sugars than barley. Witkop teff grains have potential as a raw material for beer production but would likely require custom malting equipment on an industrial scale, researchers said.
Gluten based sensitivities impact millions of people each year, leading to a dramatic rise in gluten-free food products on grocery store shelves. According to the US Celiac Disease Foundation, one percent of the global population has celiac disease, which results in the immune system attacking the small intestine when gluten is consumed and currently, no medicinal treatments are available. The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.