Nov. 14, 2008 -- Scientists have developed a new test that could speed up identification of gluten, a trigger for people with celiac disease.
Gluten-free foods are already on the market. But gluten can lurk in products that people might not expect. People with celiac disease have to avoid gluten completely, and gluten testing isn't required of U.S. foods.
The new test flags a gluten protein called gliadin. It's faster and as sensitive as a currently available test, according to the test's developers, who are based in Spain and the U.K.
Those scientists, who included graduate student Hossam Nassef of Spain's Universitat Rovira i Virgili, tested the gliadin test on foods that contain gluten and gluten-free foods.
The new gliadin test was "highly sensitive" and only took 90 minutes, compared to similar sensitivity from a currently available test that takes eight hours, Nassaf and colleagues report.
Nassef's team is working to make the new gliadin test, which is designed for food manufacturers, even faster. Meanwhile, they describe the new gliadin test in the Dec. 15 print edition of Analytical Chemistry and in the Oct. 29 online edition.