Hucl and Chibbar

Wheat research yields plenty of attention

A research discovery in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources is planting some seeds of truth about wheat and gluten.

By University Communications
University of Saskatchewan researchers Ravi Chibbar and Pierre Hucl grew 37 varieties of wheat that date back to the 1860s and analyzed the nutrient composition in each sample. They found that the concentration of proteins, including gluten, is remarkably similar to that grown more than 150 years ago—dispelling the myth of "Frankenwheat," the genetic modification of the grain's protein structure by the agriculture industry in recent years.

Last week, their research was published in the journal Cereal Chemistry and presented at a conference in Winnipeg. The story soon found its way online and went viral, appearing in local, national and international media outlets—including the likes of the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Huffington Post, ABC News and the Daily Mail overseas—and re-igniting the often contentious wheat and gluten debate.

"We weren't expecting this kind of response, to be frank," said Chibbar, who is also the Canadian Research Chair in Molecular Biology for Crop Quality.

"It was a bit unexpected, but people are happy that the science is out there. In particular, the response from the grower organizations has been very positive."

Globe and Mail article (credit to The Canadian Press): Mail article (credit to Reuters news agency):