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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Biochemical characteristics and potential applications of ancient cereals - An underexploited opportunity for sustainable production and consumption

Zamaratskaia, Galia; Gerhardt, Karin; Wendin, Karin


There is currently renewed interest in foods based on ancient cereals because consumers often consider such foods to be healthy and sustainable. Interest in ancient cereals is also growing among farmers and in the food industry due to increased demands for adaptability and the urgent need to preserve genetic diversity.

Scope and approach
In this review, we attempt to summarise recent findings regarding the content of nutrients and bioactive compounds in ancient cereals and their potential impact on human health in comparison with modern varieties. A literature review was conducted by collecting, evaluating and analysing data from publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals written in English language.

Key findings and conclusions
As indicated in several studies, ancient cereal varieties might have beneficial nutritional profile and consumers appreciate the taste and flavour of foods based on ancient cereals. These cereals have the potential to contribute to the improved sustainability and resilience of cropping systems. In addition, the production and consumption of foods based on ancient cereals indirectly encourages biodiversity, which has become a priority in environmental and organic farming circles. In conclusion, due to their unique nutritional value and phytochemical profile as well as their sensory characteristics, there is good potential for ancient cereals and associated products to become a part of a healthy diet.


Ancient grains; Ancient wheat; Consumer preferences; Nutritional properties; Sensory profiles; Wholegrain

Published in

Trends in Food Science and Technology
2021, volume: 107, pages: 114-123

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular Sciences
University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Biodiversity Centre
Wendin, Karin
University of Copenhagen

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Food Science

Publication Identifiers


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