ABSTRACT

Advances have been made to provide people with celiac disease (CD) access to a diverse diet through an increase in the availability of gluten-free food products and regulations designed to increase label reliability. Despite advances in our knowledge regarding CD and analytical methods to detect gluten, little is known about the effects of fermentation on gluten detection. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and lateral flow devices routinely used by analytical laboratories and regulatory agencies to test for the presence of gluten in food were examined for their ability to detect gluten during the fermentation processes leading to the production of soy sauce, as well as in finished products. Similar results were observed irrespective of whether the soy sauce was produced using pilot-plant facilities or according to a homemade protocol. In both cases, gluten was not detected after moromi (brine-based) fermentation, which is the second stage of fermentation. The inability to detect gluten after moromi fermentation was irrespective of whether the assay used a sandwich configuration that required two epitopes or a competitive configuration that required only one epitope. Consistent with these results was the observation that ELISA, lateral flow devices, and Western immunoblot analyses were unable to detect gluten in commercial soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Although reports are lacking on problems associated with the consumption of fermented soy-containing sauces by consumers with CD, additional research is needed to determine whether all immunopathogenic elements in gluten are hydrolyzed during soy sauce production.

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