Natural Variation in the Content and Degree of Polymerization of Fructans in Wheat: Potential for Selection of Genotypes with Beneficial Health Composition

J Agric Food Chem. 2022 Sep 7;70(35):10929-10939. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.2c03686. Epub 2022 Aug 24.


Fructans are important biocompounds because of their health-promoting effects as dietary fiber and prebiotics and also because of their harmful effects as fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) particularly in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and recently as potential triggers of non-celiac wheat/gluten sensitivity. In this work, we have analyzed the fructan contents as well as its degree of polymerization (DP) in a genetically diverse set of wheat varieties, modern and landraces, from different commonly consumed species (N = 124). A significant variation in fructan contents within and between species was observed, with the following relationship: Triticum aestivum (Landraces) > Triticum aestivum (Modern) ≥ Triticum turgidum (Modern) = T. turgidum (Landraces) ≥ Triticum spelta. In addition, a substantial part of the fructans (>50%) showed a DP ≤ 6. Considering that wheat is a major source of fructans, our results can contribute to a better nutritional management of our diets and be a basis for targeted wheat breeding to alter fructan contents.

Keywords: FODMAP; dietary fiber; fructans; inflammatory bowel disease; irritable bowel syndrome; non-celiac wheat/gluten sensitivity; prebiotics; wheat.

MeSH terms

  • Disaccharides
  • Fermentation
  • Fructans*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Monosaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Plant Breeding
  • Polymerization
  • Triticum* / genetics


  • Disaccharides
  • Fructans
  • Monosaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides