Sourdough fermentation favorably influences selenium biotransformation and the biological effects of flatbread

Mattia Di Nunzio, Alessandra Bordoni, Federica Aureli, Francesco Cubadda, Andrea Gianotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although selenium is of great importance for the human body, in several world regions the intake of this essential trace element does not meet the dietary reference values. To achieve optimal intake, fortification of bread by using selenium-enriched flour has been put forward. Less is known on the potential effect of sourdough fermentation, which might be worth exploring as the biological effects of selenium strongly depend on its chemical form and sourdough fermentation is known to cause transformations of nutrients and phytochemicals, including the conversion of inorganic selenium into organic selenocompounds. Here we investigated the bio transformation of selenium by sourdough fermentation in a typical Italian flatbread (piadina) made with standard (control) or selenium-enriched flour. The different piadina were submitted to in vitro digestion, and the biological activity of the resulting hydrolysates was tested by means of cultured human liver cells exposed to an exogenous oxidative stress. The use of selenium-enriched flour and sourdough fermentation increased the total content of bioaccessible selenium in organic form, compared to conventional fermentation, and led to protective effects counteracting oxidative damage in cultured cells. The present study suggests that selenium-rich, sourdough-fermented bakery products show promise for improving human selenium nutrition whenever necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1898
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • HepG2 cells
  • In vitro digestion
  • Selenium
  • Sourdough fermentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Sourdough fermentation favorably influences selenium biotransformation and the biological effects of flatbread'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this