There’s a new cereal in town, and it brings some interesting points to the table. It’s called Tritordeum, and it’s an inter-species cross between durum wheat (Triticum durum) and wild barley (Hordeum chilense). The result is:
- Great nutritional, agronomic and organoleptic properties
- A more sustainable cereal than wheat
- Highly-digestible gluten, due to lower amounts of omega-gliadins of gluten
Tritordeum has been developed 40 years ago by traditional breeding techniques by the IAS-CSIC, making it a natural crop and non-GMO. The company Agrasys has built a sustainable and fair value chain to introduce it into the market. While the crop resembles wheat more than barley, it takes the best parts of both.
What does it offer nutritionally?
- Gluten: it contains less gliadins, the gluten proteins responsible for intolerance and celiac disease than wheat. The difference is 41% less in flour, and 49% less in bread than traditional wheat. Although it does contain gluten and is not suitable for coeliacs, it is suitable for consumers who want reduce their gluten intake or people with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.
- Fiber: Refined tritordeum flour contains more than 6% fiber, double that of wheat.
- Other: It has 2 times more oleic acid and 10 times more lutein than wheat.
Does the high oleic acid content affect the flour’s shelf life?
Because the grain is a mono-insaturated fat, it is quite stable to oxidation. The tritordeum refined flours usually have 9-12 months shelf life, while the wholegrain flours have around 4-6 months.
Where is it available?
Tritordeum has currently being produced and sold in Europe. Crops are grown in Spain, Italy, France and Greece, with 50% of total acreage grown for organic certification. Right now, Agrasys is initiating some new projects in other geographies like Australia. There, they have a local breeding partner starting to multiply Tritordeum seed for future local grain production. They expect to have enough Australian grain available to start commercial activity in 2021. Agrasys is actively looking for a similar partnership with a company in the US.
Are there products it works especially well in?
Any application where wheat is used, Tritordeum can perform. Bread is an obvious choice, and a great way to highlight the look and taste of the grain. Other products like pizza, pasta, beer (with malted Tritordeum grain), and all kinds of sweet or savory snacks work as well.
The grain has good water absorption, thanks to the high fiber, and a lower stability to mixing. It also has a strong enzymatic activity.