Special: What Is Tritordeum? New Cereal Explained

Tritordeum is a new natural cereal born from the combination of durum wheat (Triticum durum) and wild barley (Hordeum chilense). The newly-created cereal is proper for human consumption and suitable for a wide range of cereal-based products in bakery and confectionery industry.

We talked with the manufacturing company Agrasys (Barcelona, Spain), to learn more about Tritordeum. Here are its main benefits.

The development of Tritordeum started in the late 70s, by a group of researchers from the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (IAS) of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) in Córdoba. Its name is a combination of the name of its parent seeds in Latin: Triticum durum (Durum wheat) and Hordeum chilense (Wild barley).

After 30 years of research, Agrasys launched Tritordeum on the market in April 2013. Tritordeum has been developed by the traditional breeding technique of hybridization, which is why it does not fall into the genetically modified organism (GMO) category.

Multiple Applications

Tritordeum is suitable for a wide range of cereal-based products such as pastries (including cake, bread, and croissants), breakfast cereals, biscuits, cereal bars, as well as pasta, pizza and beer, among others.

In terms of bread making, bakers usually compare it with standard wheat, the cereal of reference and most widely cultivated worldwide. However, Tritordeum is not a new wheat variety, but a new crop with its own rheological, nutritional and organoleptic properties, according to the producer.

There is at least one aspect that Tritordeum shares with wheat, however: it may be used in many cereal-based applications and behaves like bread wheat. It is a cereal that contains gluten, but the gluten’s quality is different from other gluten-containing cereals such as wheat or spelt. In baking applications, it is recommended to mix the dough at slow speed, and the fermentation time has to be reduced as well. Water uptake can go from 60 to 80% on flour weight, allowing the production of goods with closed or open crumb structure.

Tritordeum doughs have a low elasticity, a high extensibility, as well as good water retention. Water needs more time to be absorbed compared to wheat, but it still makes the dough easy to handle and it can be worked with in all types of bakery goods.

Tritordeum’s characteristic dough allows the production of innovative products. It can be used as well in the production of laminated pastries (puff pastry, croissant), as well as cakes and biscuits.


As the developer explains, the three main benefits most appreciated both by the professional baker and by the consumer are: the organoleptic profile, the nutritional characteristics (especially for its gluten properties and digestibility) and, last but not least, its sustainability: it has a lower environmental impact and full traceability in comparison to other cereals.

Tritordeum is more digestible because it contains less indigestible protein than wheat. Specifically, it has lower levels of the gliadin proteins, which cause celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

It contains 10 times more luteine than wheat, an antioxidant pigment responsible for its yellow color, benefic for eye health and skin protection against UV rays and premature aging. It has more oleic acid than wheat, a monounsaturated fatty acid typical in the Mediterranean diet that helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It has more dietary fibers than wheat, with positive effects on cardiovascular health.

In terms of sustainability, Tritordeum has a high resistance to drought, high temperatures and disease. Furthermore, the new cereal has a low environmental impact, because is requires less water and has a good resistance to the stresses of climate change.

Agrasys has built a commodity chain to ensure full traceability of this cereal: controlling the seed, grain and flour until it becomes a final product.

The cereal is grown by local farmers under a repurchase agreement. The grain is transported to licensed flour mills, milling it using traditional techniques, and is delivered to the processors in the form of flour.

Tritordeum is commercialized in Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands. Soon it will be available in Denmark, Sweden and the UK.

Who Uses Tritordeum

Tritordeum has been so far very well accepted in the targeted markets, says the producer. Agrasys attended important bakery trade fairs, which played a major role in raising awareness regarding Tritordeum. Some cooking shows held in JTIC Paris 2016 (France) and BIOFACH 2017 (Germany) made professional demonstrations using Tritordeum flour in a wide range of applications.

In Spain, bakers such as Jordi Morera, Josep Pascual, Jorge Pastor and Carlos Mariel, who are part of the Spanish Richemont Club are using Tritordeum in their daily baked products. Tritordeum bread is available in famous bakery shops such as Veritas and Panishop and in local bakeries across Spain.

Italy is another country where Tritordeum is well accepted, thanks to the milling companies: Molino Dallagiovanna and lately, Selezione Casillo. It is also used in other countries like Turkey, France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.

An Italian pizza maker is now offering Tritordeum pizza in Australia, specifically in his restaurant Al Taglio, located in Sydney. Al Taglio was reviewed in the online magazine Good Food as one of the Top10 best Pizzas restaurant of Sydney for 2017.

In Germany, organic Tritordeum flours are now available, starting with Gut Rosenkrantz, the first organic milling company that introduced this new cereal on the German market.

The first sacks of organic Tritordeum flour were brought to the market last year by KonaPlus, an innovative distributor from the South of Germany. Since January 20, 2017, bread, biscuits and cakes made with Tritordeum are available in the 37 stores that Exner Bakery has in Berlin and Brandenburg.

Short history

It took around 30 years to develop Tritordeum. It is registered in the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) of the European Union that provides protection with an intellectual property rights for new plant varieties. It has been tested in field. Other biochemical, nutritional and clinical studies have been made.

1977: The first successful cross between durum wheat and barley

1989-1996: Five expeditions to Chile and Argentina were necessary to collect sub-varieties of wild barley (110 accessions). To bring more genetic variability in Tritordeum breeding program, 80 lines of durum wheat were selected from world seed banks. With the first crosses, 250 Tritordeum primary lines were obtained.

2006-08: Agrasys buys the exclusive exploitation rights of Tritordeum from the CSIC (the Scientific Institute involved in Tritordeum’s creation). The lines selected were based on criteria like resistance to fungi, yield, and protein quality for baking. This same year is also the start of Tritordeum’s commercial seed and grain production.

2010: Registration of the first Tritordeum variety called AUCAN.

2013: Tritordeum is launched on the Spanish and Italian markets. The flour is available but also the development of a range of other derived ingredients.

2015: Registration of the second Tritordeum variety called BULEL.

Tritordeum in figures

•           The cultivation area of Tritordeum in 2016 is 1,300 hectares. Spain cultivates the largest area, of 450 hectares, followed by Italy (440 hectares) and Turkey (250 hectares).

•           Gut Rosenkrantz becomes the first organic milling company that has introduced this new cereal onto the German market.

•           50% of the total production of Tritordeum for next year will come from organic agriculture through local farmers with organic certification.

•           The number of milling companies working with Tritordeum in Europe has risen from nine in 2015 to 13 in 2016. There are also Turkish, Swiss, French and German mills.

•           Between 2016 and 2017, the commercialization has been extended in France, Switzerland and now in Germany. Three years ago, Tritordeum was only cultivated in Spain, Italy and Portugal. Since the 2015/2016 season, it is grown in France and Turkey as well.

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