Biochemical and Immunochemical Evidences Supporting the Inclusion of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) as a Gluten-free Ingredient


To date, the only acceptable therapeutic approach for celiac disease (CD) is a strict elimination from the diet of gluten-containing foods, but this diet does not always guarantee an adequate nutritional intake. Pseudocereals are receiving considerable attention as interesting alternatives for the formulation of gluten-free products, and quinoa grains arise as nutritive substitutes of conventional cereals. The aim of this study was the characterization of different quinoa samples corresponding to 11 quinoa varieties, using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS-PAGE) and immunoblotting techniques to assess their suitability for celiac subjects. Some of these varieties were grown in Italy to assess if the reproduction in a new habitat can guarantee the retention of the “safe” protein pattern. None of the quinoa varieties studied presented protein bands with electrophoretic mobility comparable with those of wheat gliadins, the toxic protein for celiac subjects. All the quinoa samples showed a low binding affinity for both specific anti-gliadin antibodies and IgAs from celiac subjects, confirming that quinoa can be considered as a safe ingredient for celiac patients. However, reliable varieties should be previously selected since the immuno cross-reactivity with anti-gliadin antibodies can vary significantly.

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Bromochloroindolyl phosphate-nitroblue tetrazolium


Celiac disease


Gluten-free diet


Polyvinylidene difluoride


Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate




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This work was partially supported by the Flagship Project “Istituto dell’Alimentazione e della Salute”, Municipality of Milan. We would like to thank the following Donors for graciously providing us the Chenopodium quinoa samples studied: Hohenheim University, Germany; National Agricultural Research Foundation - Fodder Crops and Pasture Institute (NARF-FCPI), Greece; Bundesanstalt für Züchtungforschung an Kulturplanzen (BAZ), Germany; United States Department of Agriculture – North Central Regional Plant Introduction System (USDA-NCRPIS), USA.

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Correspondence to Patrizia Restani.

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Peñas, E., Uberti, F., di Lorenzo, C. et al. Biochemical and Immunochemical Evidences Supporting the Inclusion of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) as a Gluten-free Ingredient. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 69, 297–303 (2014).

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  • Celiac disease
  • Quinoa
  • Gluten-free
  • Immunoblotting