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EU approval for DSM enzyme that helps break down gluten

As figures reveal that up to 10 per cent of people are gluten sensitive, DSM has addressed the issue by developing AN-PEP (Tolerase® G), a new dietary enzyme that allows those who are gluten-sensitive to eat and drink without worry.

Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, barley and rye. It gives breads and other grain products their shape, strength and texture. Gluten is a hard to digest protein, since it is rich in the amino acid proline. The human body cannot break down proline-rich proteins such as gluten efficiently and this may be why some people are sensitive to dietary gluten.

As gluten is present in many different foods, following a gluten-free diet is difficult. And even with a gluten-free diet, there is still the risk of unintentional intake of gluten. Studies show that even when following a gluten-free diet, unintentional gluten intake can range from 200 mg/day to up to 3000 mg/day, depending on how strict a gluten-free dieter is.

The most severe reactions occur in the 1% of the population who suffer from celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder that makes it impossible to safely consume any food that contains gluten.

Those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity generally have milder reactions, and it is this group for which the Tolerase G application – which has now been approved for use in the EU – is designed. Tolerase G is not intended to replace a gluten-free diet, however, and is not intended to treat or prevent celiac disease.

‘Gut health has been on DSM’s radar for a long time,’ says DSM Scientist Luppo Edens, who identified the AN-PEP enzyme. ‘We began screening many years ago for an enzyme that would specifically cleave proline-rich protein fragments, making it easier to break down food proteins that cause problems. We first identified AN-PEP during milk protein allergy research, and realized we could extend the solution to gluten.’

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