Crispin Howitt (1), Gregory J. Tanner (1), Malcolm J. Blundell (1), Michelle L. Colgrave (1); (1) CSIRO Agriculture Flagship, Acton, Australia

IBD Symposium
Tuesday, August 16  •  8:15–11:30 a.m.
Tower Building, Second Level, Grand Ballroom

Coeliac disease is a well-understood disorder, occurring in 1% of the population and requiring lifelong exclusion of gluten proteins in wheat (gliadin and glutenins), barley (hordeins), rye (avenins) and, in some individuals, oats (secalins). Untreated coeliac individuals suffer from low bone density, increased intestinal malignancy, and must consume a diet low in fiber and high in fat. To address these issues we have used conventional breeding to create the hordein triple-null, ultra-low gluten barley Kebari. This line has smaller grains, making processing and malting less efficient relative to wild-type barley. We have increased the seed weight and agronomics similar to commercial malting barley. Wild-type (hulled) barley contains anti-nutritional silica residues in the husk, which are of benefit to the brewing industry as the spent husks form a filtration bed. In addition we have developed a hull-less version for use in the food industry, to provide additional whole grain options to individuals with coeliac and those who suffer from gluten intolerance. The hordein levels in these Kebari lines are well below the legislative limit of 20 ppm in gluten-free food. Kebari may be useful for the preparation of foods and beverages for the estimated 5% of people in the world who have coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.

Crispin completed his Ph.D. degree at the Australian National University, studying respiratory pathways and photorespiration in cyanobacteria and the chloroplasts of higher plants. His first postdoctoral fellowship was at Arizona State University, where he studied the interaction of respiration in photosynthesis in cyanobacteria. In 2000 he moved to CSIRO in Canberra, Australia, for a second postdoctoral fellowship using gene technology to modify starch structure and function in the model plant Arabidopsis. At the end of 2002 he moved into the area of cereal quality within the same group. Since then he has had a diverse range of interests: carotenoid biosynthesis in cereal grains, how manipulation of protein content and composition impacts end-product functionality, the genetics of end-product quality in wheat and modification of grain composition for health benefits. Within this period he has held the positions of team, group and stream leader and is currently the team leader for cereal proteins and fiber within the Cereal Quality Group at CSIRO.