sorghum foods

Sorghum: The next big gluten-free grain?

Leading scientists have hailed sorghum as a highly nutritious and cost-effective gluten-free grain, but say industry use remains small.

A recently published study in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry concluded that sorghum is celiac-safe, on the basis of biochemical and genetic evidence.

The Italian researchers, led by Paola Pontieri, worked on a series of studies into the grain and continue to work on projects to analyse its use in baked goods, cereals and snacks.

Speaking to, Pontieri said sorghum has great potential to produce high quality gluten-free products: “Sorghum can be added into most recipes at levels of 40% with little to no change in product quality.”

Unlike corn, the grain has little or no background flavour and does not transmit odour or colour, Pontieri said.

Sorghum has a low glycemic index, good level of fibre and can be low in fat if the grain has been de-germed, she added.

Associate professor at Texas A&M University (TAMU) Dr Nancy Turner added that the ingredient also has antioxidant properties.

“Sorghum has a great mix of macronutrients and those varieties that contain elevated levels of biologically active compounds provide an opportunity to increase the intake of molecules that may serve as antioxidants,” Turner said.

Traditionally sorghum has been used for animal feed, particularly in developed Western countries. However, food-grade sorghum is cultivated across the globe.

“In general, it isn’t highly used,” Turner said. “However, its use is increasing, especially in niche markets such as the gluten-free realm.”

The professor said the grain is only just starting to be recognised. Much like quinoa – unknown in Europe and North America a few years ago – sorghum will begin to find its way into mainstream once people learn about its beneficial attributes, she said….. Read more