New type of wheat could transform daily fibre intake
A new type of wheat which could offer millions of people a way to boost their fibre intake without having to change their diets is being harvested for the first time in the United States
The wheat is high-amylose wheat and contains more than ten times the amount of resistant starch compared to regular wheat. Largely lacking in Western diets, resistant starch is known to improve digestive health, protect against the genetic damage that precedes bowel cancer and help combat Type 2 diabetes.
Farmers in Minnesota and Washington have become the first to harvest the wheat which will be processed into flour and incorporated into a range of food products, including bread.
The development of the wheat was led in Australia by scientists at theCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in collaboration with Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients. CSIRO is Australia"s preeminent national research agency.
"Wheat is the most popular source of fibre and eaten by 30 percent of the world"s population, whether it"s in bread, pizzas, pastas or tortillas," said Dr. Ahmed Regina, a principal research scientist at CSIRO. "Having a wheat with high levels of resistant starch enables people to get this important fibre without changing the type of grain they eat or the amount of grain-based foods they need for recommended dietary levels."
Working with French company Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients and the Grains Research and Development Corporation, CSIRO bred the new wheat variety - increasing amylose content from around 20 or 30 percent to 85 percent.
US-based Bay State Milling Company is bringing the new wheat into the US market. They recently contracted farmers to grow around 1,000 acres of the wheat, which they will market as HealthSense™ high fibre wheat flour.
"We are very excited to launch HealthSense™ in the US and change the way Americans think about wheat," said Peter Levangie, Bay State Milling"s CEO. "HealthSense™ will deliver flour functionality to our customers and fibre benefits to consumers, enabling better human health through the foods they love to eat."
Though it"s unclear when the wheat might be available in grocery stores to the average consumer, the flour will be made available to bakers and food manufacturers to trial early next year.
CSIRO opened its first US office this year to speed the development of new strategic partnerships with US companies and organisations across many sectors, including agriculture, aerospace and health.
CSIRO, Australia"s premier national research organisation and inventors of the Wi-Fi technology found in over five billion devices today, employs a team of more than 5,000 world-class scientists, engineers, technologists and economists to deliver solutions for some of the world"s most challenging problems. Through innovative technology development and ground breaking research, we imagine, innovate, and collaborate with global partners, including Boeing and The Gates Foundation, to provide the commercially relevant technological solutions necessary to advance innovation and change the world.