Einkorn

Einkorn wheat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Triticum
Species: T. monococcum
Binomial name
Triticum monococcum
L.

Einkorn wheat (from German Einkorn, literally "single grain") can refer either to the wild species of wheat, Triticum boeoticum, or to the domesticated form, Triticum monococcum. The wild and domesticated forms are either considered separate species, as here, or as subspecies of T. monococcum. Einkorn is a diploid species of hulled wheat, with tough glumes ('husks') that tightly enclose the grains. The cultivated form is similar to the wild, except that the ear stays intact when ripe and the seeds are larger.

History

Einkorn wheat is one of the earliest cultivated forms of wheat, alongside emmer wheat (T. dicoccum). Grains of wild einkorn have been found in Epi-Paleolithic sites of the Fertile Crescent. It was first domesticated approximately 7500 BC (7050 BC ≈ 9000 BP), in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) or B (PPNB) periods.[1] Evidence from DNA finger-printing suggests einkorn was domesticated near Karaca Dağ in southeast Turkey, an area in which a number of PPNB farming villages have been found.[2] Its cultivation decreased in the Bronze Age, and today it is a relict crop that is rarely planted, though it has found a new market as a health food. It remains as a local crop, often for bulgur (cracked wheat) or as animal feed, in mountainous areas of France, Morocco, the former Yugoslavia, Turkey and other countries. It often survives on poor soils where other species of wheat fail.[3]

Gluten toxicity

In contrast with more modern forms of wheat, evidence suggests the gliadin protein of einkorn may not be as toxic to sufferers of coeliac disease.[4] It has yet to be recommended in any gluten-free diet.

Salt-tolerance gene

Australian scientists have succeeded in breeding the salt-tolerance feature of T. monococcum into durum wheat.[5]

References

External links

  • Ancient Grain Varieties in Archaeology
  • "Hulled Wheats. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops." 4. Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Hulled Wheats 21–22 July 1995, Castelvecchio Pascoli, Tuscany, Italy
  • Wheat evolution: integrating archaeological and biological evidence
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