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Concept: Cereals


Dietary recommendations emphasize increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals for prevention of chronic disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Cereal, Fruit, Maize, Vegetarian cuisine, Barley, Cereals, Cereal germ


The domestication and transmission of cereals is one of the most fundamental components of early farming, but direct evidence of their use in early culinary practices and economies has remained frustratingly elusive. Using analysis of a well-preserved Early Bronze Age wooden container from Switzerland, we propose novel criteria for the identification of cereal residues. Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), we identified compounds typically associated with plant products, including a series of phenolic lipids (alkylresorcinols) found only at appreciable concentration in wheat and rye bran. The value of these lipids as cereal grain biomarkers were independently corroborated by the presence of macrobotanical remains embedded in the deposit, and wheat and rye endosperm peptides extracted from residue. These findings demonstrate the utility of a lipid-based biomarker for wheat and rye bran and offer a methodological template for future investigations of wider range of archaeological contexts. Alkylresorcinols provide a new tool for residue analysis which can help explore the spread and exploitation of cereal grains, a fundamental component of the advent and spread of farming.

Concepts: Wheat, Poaceae, Cereal, Maize, Rye, Rice, Oat, Cereals


Inflorescence architecture is a key determinant of yield potential in many crops and is patterned by the organization and developmental fate of axillary meristems. In cereals, flowers and grain are borne from spikelets, which differentiate in the final iteration of axillary meristem branching. In Setaria spp., inflorescence branches terminate in either a spikelet or a sterile bristle, and these structures appear to be paired. In this work, we leverage Setaria viridis to investigate a role for the phytohormones brassinosteroids (BRs) in specifying bristle identity and maintaining spikelet meristem determinacy. We report the molecular identification and characterization of the Bristleless 1 (Bsl1) locus in S. viridis, which encodes a rate-limiting enzyme in BR biosynthesis. Loss-of-function bsl1 mutants fail to initiate a bristle identity program, resulting in homeotic conversion of bristles to spikelets. In addition, spikelet meristem determinacy is altered in the mutants, which produce two florets per spikelet instead of one. Both of these phenotypes provide avenues for enhanced grain production in cereal crops. Our results indicate that the spatiotemporal restriction of BR biosynthesis at boundary domains influences meristem fate decisions during inflorescence development. The bsl1 mutants provide insight into the molecular basis underlying morphological variation in inflorescence architecture.

Concepts: DNA, Cellular differentiation, Cereal, Fruit, Vegetarian cuisine, Rice, Meristem, Cereals


Several studies have suggested a protective effect of intake of whole grains, but not refined grains on type 2 diabetes risk, but the dose-response relationship between different types of grains and type 2 diabetes has not been established. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies of grain intake and type 2 diabetes. We searched the PubMed database for studies of grain intake and risk of type 2 diabetes, up to June 5th, 2013. Summary relative risks were calculated using a random effects model. Sixteen cohort studies were included in the analyses. The summary relative risk per 3 servings per day was 0.68 (95 % CI 0.58-0.81, I(2) = 82 %, n = 10) for whole grains and 0.95 (95 % CI 0.88-1.04, I(2) = 53 %, n = 6) for refined grains. A nonlinear association was observed for whole grains, p nonlinearity < 0.0001, but not for refined grains, p nonlinearity = 0.10. Inverse associations were observed for subtypes of whole grains including whole grain bread, whole grain cereals, wheat bran and brown rice, but these results were based on few studies, while white rice was associated with increased risk. Our meta-analysis suggests that a high whole grain intake, but not refined grains, is associated with reduced type 2 diabetes risk. However, a positive association with intake of white rice and inverse associations between several specific types of whole grains and type 2 diabetes warrant further investigations. Our results support public health recommendations to replace refined grains with whole grains and suggest that at least two servings of whole grains per day should be consumed to reduce type 2 diabetes risk.

Concepts: Cereal, Rice, Bran, Cereals, Whole grain, Cereal germ, Refined grains, White rice


OBJECTIVE: Eating whole grains (WG) is recommended for health, but multiple conflicting definitions exist for identifying whole grain (WG) products, limiting the ability of consumers and organizations to select such products. We investigated how five recommended WG criteria relate to healthfulness and price of grain products. DESIGN: We categorized grain products by different WG criteria including: the industry-sponsored Whole Grain stamp (WG-Stamp); WG as the first ingredient (WG-first); WG as the first ingredient without added sugars (WG-first-no-added-sugars); the word ‘whole’ before any grain in the ingredients (‘whole’-anywhere); and a content of total carbohydrate to fibre of ≤10:1 (10:1-ratio). We investigated associations of each criterion with health-related characteristics including fibre, sugars, sodium, energy, trans-fats and price. SETTING: Two major grocery store chains. SUBJECTS: Five hundred and forty-five grain products. RESULTS: Each WG criterion identified products with higher fibre than products considered non-WG; the 10:1-ratio exhibited the largest differences (+3·15 g/serving, P < 0·0001). Products achieving the 10:1-ratio also contained lower sugar (-1·28 g/serving, P = 0·01), sodium (-15·4 mg/serving, P = 0·04) and likelihood of trans-fats (OR = 0·14, P < 0·0001), without energy differences. WG-first-no-added-sugars performed similarly, but identified many fewer products as WG and also not a lower likelihood of containing trans-fats. The WG-Stamp, WG-first and 'whole'-anywhere criteria identified products with a lower likelihood of trans-fats, but also significantly more sugars and energy (P < 0·05 each). Products meeting the WG-Stamp or 10:1-ratio criterion were more expensive than products that did not (+$US 0·04/serving, P = 0·009 and +$US 0·05/serving, P = 0·003, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Among proposed WG criteria, the 10:1-ratio identified the most healthful WG products. Other criteria performed less well, including the industry-supported WG-Stamp which identified products with higher fibre and lower trans-fats, but also higher sugars and energy. These findings inform efforts by consumers, organizations and policy makers to identify healthful WG products.

Concepts: Nutrition, Cereal, Carbohydrate, Sugar, Barley, Cereals, Whole grain, Cereal germ


The potential role of whole grain in preventing various mortality outcomes has been inconsistently reported in a wealth of prospective observational studies.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Systematic review, Observational study, Meta-analysis, Barley, Cereals, Whole grain, Cereal germ


We studied the combined effects of wholegrain, fish and bilberries on serum metabolic profile and lipid transfer protein activities in subjects with the metabolic syndrome.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Nutrition, Lipid, Barley, Cereals, Whole grain, Cereal germ


Studies of whole grain and chronic disease have often included bran-enriched foods and other ingredients that do not meet the current definition of whole grains. Therefore, we assessed the literature to test whether whole grains alone had benefits on these diseases.

Concepts: Medicine, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Maize, Barley, Cereals, Whole grain, Cereal germ, Rolled oats


High intake of whole grains has been associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease; however, the research that has been used to evaluate different effects of different whole-grain cereals (e.g., wheat, rye, and oats) has been sparse.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Myocardial infarction, Heart, Wheat, Poaceae, Cereal, Bran, Cereals


The levels of 26 mycotoxins were determined in 147 samples of the grain of cereals cultivated in five regions of Poland during the 2014 growing season. The HPLC-HRMS (time-of-flight) analytical technique was used. An analytical procedure to simultaneously determine 26 mycotoxins in grain was developed, tested and verified. Samples from eastern and southern Poland were more contaminated with mycotoxins than the samples from northern and western Poland. Toxins produced by Fusarium fungi were the main contaminants found. Some deoxynivalenol (DON) was found in 100% of the tested samples of wheat (Osiny, Borusowa, Werbkowice), triticale, winter barley and oats, while the maximum permissible DON level (as defined in the EU Commission Regulation No. 1881/2006) was exceeded in 10 samples. Zearalenone (ZEN), DON metabolites and enniatins were also commonly found. The presence of mycotoxins in grain reflected the prevailing weather conditions during the plant flowering/earing stages, which were favorable for the development of blight. Among all investigated wheat genotypes, cv. Fidelius was the least contaminated, while Bamberka, Forkida and Kampana were the most contaminated. However, the single-factor ANOVA analysis of variance did not reveal (at a statistical significance level α = 0.05) any differences between levels of mycotoxins in individual genotypes. Triticale was the most contaminated grain among all of the tested varieties. ZEN, DON and the sum of 3-acetyldexynivalenol and 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol (3- and 15-ADON) were found in 100% of the tested triticale samples at concentrations within the 4-86, 196-1326 and 36-374 µg·kg(-1) range, respectively. Of particular concern was the fact that some “emerging mycotoxins” (enniatins) (in addition to commonly-known and legally-regulated mycotoxins) were also found in the tested triticale samples (enniatin B (Enn-B), enniatin B1 (Enn-B1), enniatin A-1 (Enn-A1), 100% of samples, and enniatin A (Enn-A), 70% of samples). Depending on the toxin, they were found at levels between 8 and 3328 µg·kg(-1).

Concepts: European Union, Wheat, Poaceae, Statistical hypothesis testing, Cereal, Analysis of variance, Oat, Cereals