The intense breeding programs carried out after the Second World War resulted in the selection of new varieties, less subjected to crop lodging, with high yield and able to provide high strength flour, suitable to withstand mechanical processing. This resulted, in turn, in the replacement of many local varieties and consequently in the loss of genetic variability. Recently, there has been a renewal of interest by consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and researchers to the so-called “ancient grains”, the varieties used in the last century or even earlier. “Green-minded” consumers consider the sensory and nutritional properties of the derived products the main features that drive this tendency. In this scenario, seed banks and field collections take on a paramount importance. Since 2011, at the Inter-Departmental Centre BIOGEST-SITEIA - University of Modena and Reggio Emilia - a project that has allowed the installation of a germplasm bank for the conservation and enhancement of cereals, with attention to wheat varieties (Triticum spp.), has been running. Seven ancient cultivars of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), Autonomia, Gentil rosso, Inallettabile, Leone aristato, Mentana, Risciola, Terminillo, and one cultivar of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.), i.e. Poulard di Ciano, have been characterised for their phenolic profile. Hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxybenzoic acids, flavones, and vanillin contained in the extracts of whole meal flour were subjected to separation and determination by LC-ESI-MS/MS. Ferulic acid, vanillic acid, sinapic acid, and syringic acid were the most abundant components. For the first time some flavones were also determined. Poulard di Ciano showed a peculiar phenolic profile. Also known as Turgido Reggiano, this variety is nowadays considered a real autochthonous wheat of Reggio Emilia province. The nutritional characteristics of the caryopsis, rich in micronutrients and compounds with nutraceutical activity, and the opportunity of increasing a more sustainable model of agriculture, urge biodiversity conservation practices and actions of valorisation of the wheat ancient varieties.
Phenolic compounds profile of ancient grains (Triticum spp.) / Montevecchi, Giuseppe; Setti, Leonardo; Olmi, Linda; Antonelli, Andrea; Sgarbi, Elisabetta. - (2018). (Intervento presentato al convegno Conference: 4th International Symposium on Traditional Foods from Adriatic to Caucasus tenutosi a Cyprus nel 19-21 Apr 2018).