Wheat, corn, and rice are the most important crops around the world. As someone who enjoys baking, wheat is the base of almost all the desserts and bread recipes I bake. However, as I have become more interested in baking various types of bread, I wondered how gluten is formed and how bread textures change based on how long I kneaded the dough. According to Jessica R Biesiekierski in her article “What is Gluten”, Gluten is “complex mixture of hundreds of related but distinct proteins, mainly gliadin and glutenin.” The gluten matrix is essential to the quality of bread dough. It has the ability to act as a “binding” agent and is also used in marinades and even capsules in medication.  The biology of gluten and its structure depend on the ration of glutenin and gliadins. Each component has different functions that can effect “viscoelasticity”. In her article Biesiekiersk, worked to find evidence that “exposure to gluten may be increasing with changes in cereal technology”. There are many diets and intolerances caused by gluten such as the gluten free diet, gluten disorders, coeliac disease wheat allergy and sensitivity. In conclusion of their study, they determined “Gluten is a complex protein network and plays a key role in determining the rheological dough properties and baking qualities.” However, they came across a challenged. They learned that protein structure can “vary dependent on several factors”. Ultimately, make “analysis and definitions difficult”. And overall they conclude that “further work is needed to completely understand non-coeliac gluten sensitive”.

Another study that researched viscoelasticity is by is Peter R. Shewry, Nigel G. Halford, Peter S. Belton, and Arthur S. Tatham studied “The structure properties of gluten: an elastic protein from wheat grain”. According to Science Direct, viscoelasticity refers to a material’s tendency to act like a fluid or a solid. An additional article that explores viscoelasticity.

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They manipulate the “amount and composition” of HMM subunits concerning the strength or change of gluten structure and properties. These scholars describe wheat as a plant with many properties, however, they emphasized “viscoelasticity”. In terms of this research, viscoelasticity is “the balance between the extensibility and elasticity determining the end use quality.” The scholars use the dough as an example stating that “ highly elastic (‘strong’) doughs are required for bread making but, more extensible doughs are required for making cakes and biscuits”. In the study, these scholars focused on the HMM protein subunits of gluten. At least 50 different types of gluten proteins can be produced during the kneading process; however, these researchers have chosen to focus on the HMM subunits of glutenin. HMM, subunits, X type, and Y type can be only found on one chromosome in wheat cells. These two subunits are 70 % accountable for the viscoelastic variations in bread. This presentation allowed the researcher to see how stable and unstable the subunits were which would play a role in their ability to interact with peptides. In addition, these peptides may relate to the role of gluten in stabilizing the structures and interactions of the subunits.

US Navy 050102-N-5837R-011 Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Savoy and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Davy Nugent prepares bread in the bakery aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Both articles emphasized the importance of protein structure. AP Biology greatly emphasizes the importance of Organic compounds. Proteins have a few structures that are ultimately composed of sequences of amino acids to create polypeptide chains. From primary structure proteins can become more complex by forming alpha helixes and beta pleated sheets. From that point 3D structures can be made. Gluten has a very structure characterized by “high allelic polymorphism encoding its specific proteins, glutenin, and gliadin”. This leads to wheat producing “unique types and quantities of these compounds”, these types and quantities can vary based off “growing conditions and technological processes”.

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