Biochemical and immunochemical characterization of different varieties of amaranth (Amaranthus L. ssp.) as a safe ingredient for gluten-free products

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 28;59(24):12969-74. doi: 10.1021/jf2041824. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


Celiac disease is a food intolerance triggered by the ingestion of gluten-containing cereals; the only therapy is a strict gluten-free diet for life. In recent years, amaranth flour has received considerable attention as an interesting source for the formulation of gluten-free products due to its high nutritional value and low content of prolamins, the toxic proteins for celiacs. The aim of this study was to characterize 40 amaranth varieties using both SDS-PAGE/immunoblotting and ELISA to assess their possible tolerance by celiac subjects. All of the amaranth samples studied showed similar binding affinities for both specific anti-gliadin antibodies and human IgAs. In most amaranth grains, the content of gluten-like proteins measured by ELISA was <20 ppm. The molecular characterization of amaranth proteins suggests that amaranth is safe for celiacs to consume. It is recommended that the most suitable amaranth varieties are those having the lowest content of proteins cross-reacting with anti-gliadin antibodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthus / chemistry*
  • Amaranthus / immunology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Gliadin / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Proteins / analysis
  • Plant Proteins / immunology
  • Seeds / chemistry


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Plant Proteins
  • Gliadin