• primitive wheats;
  • bioactives;
  • carotenoids;
  • tocols;
  • phytosterols;
  • phenolic compounds



In recent years there has been a considerable interest in the consumption of ancient wheats, often referred to as having superior health-promoting properties than modern cultivars. The BaSeFood project allowed us to explore the use of primitive wheats in the Black Sea area region and in Italy, with special regard to emmer (Triticum dicoccum) and einkorn (T. monococcum), and to collect seed samples to be grown and compared for their bioactive content, together with some other primitive wheat genotypes (T. timopheevi, T. palaeo-colchicum, T. macha).


The data show that genotype was an important factor controlling phytochemical content. Variability ranges were as follows: lipids (18.0–28.5 g kg−1), tocols (26.6–72.8 mg kg−1), carotenoids (1.6–8.4 mg kg−1), sterols (441–929 mg kg−1) and phenolic compounds (819–1465 mg kg−1) content (dry matter basis). The fraction of individual components, within each class, was also variable; however, the species were well discriminated by their overall composition.


The present research represents a further contribution to the available literature about the analytical composition of primitive wheats, including the complete range of relevant bioactives and lesser investigated species. The data do not support an overall superiority of primitive forms, but evidenced interesting, potentially exploitable, between- and within-species variability. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry