Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. durum (Desf.) Husn) is a major food source in the Mediterranean countries since it is utilized for the production of pasta, leavened and unleavened breads, couscous and other traditional foods. The technological and nutritional properties of durum wheat semolina depend mainly on the type of gluten proteins and on their amount, which is a genotype and environment dependent trait. Gluten proteins are also responsible for celiac disease (CD), an autoimmune enteropathy with a prevalence of about 0.7-2% in the human population. At this purpose, two Italian durum wheat cultivars, Saragolla and Cappelli, currently used for monovarietal pasta, were chosen to compare: i) the reserve and embryo proteome, ii) the free and bound phenolics, antioxidant activity, and amino acid composition and iii) the content of immunogenic peptides produced after a simulated gastrointestinal digestion. The results obtained from two years of field cultivation, in average showed a higher amount of gluten proteins, amino acids and immunogenic peptides in Cappelli. Saragolla showed a higher abundance in bound phenolics, antioxidant enzymes and stress response proteins in line with its higher antioxidant activity. However, the impact of the year of cultivation, largely depending on varying rainfall regimes through the wheat growth cycle, was significant for most of the parameters investigated. Differences in technological and nutritional characteristics observed between the two cultivars are discussed in relation to the influence of genetic and environmental factors.
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