Recently, organic farming systems have attracted the attention of consumers because of their low environmental impact. Organic agriculture is a valid alternative to conventional farming and ancient wheat, such as KAMUT® khorasan wheat (T. turgidum ssp. turanicum), has emerged as an industry leader for its nutritional and functional properties (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and prebiotic).
The aim of the present study was to evaluate environmental effects on the quality of KAMUT® khorasan grains harvested in the last two decades (1989–2012) on one farm in Montana (USA), through the evaluation of phytochemical accumulation. Results revealed high variability in the amounts of macronutrients and nutraceuticals. In particular, from 1989 to 2012, there was a decreasing trend in starch content (ranging from 70·87 to 50·54/100 g) and amylose (from 41·48 to 31·46% of total starch) with a slight increase of insoluble dietary fibre (from 12·14 to 17·75/100 g). The soluble dietary fibre content varied among the years of cultivation even if the general trend remained constant (4·57–2·82/100 g). High variability of total polyphenols content was observed with the free soluble fraction present at lower levels than bound polyphenols (BP). Moreover, an inverse correlation between free and BP was observed. The results obtained in the present study show that the influence of environmental conditions plays a fundamental role in the accumulation of primary and secondary metabolites in wheat kernels and strongly modulate the nutritional and nutraceutical value of flour.