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Rice starch and
protein are found in a wide range of products including frozen foods, sauces,
soups, dressings, reduced-fat baked goods, baby food, health bars and medicinal
tablets. Click the image for more information about it.
A New Way to Free up Rice's Valuable Starch and
Protein By Erin
Peabody January 28, 2005
Rice starch is one of the food industry's best-kept secrets. It can
replace fat or add a satiny finish to sauces and soups and is hypoallergenic
enough to use in baby foods. But for decades, there's been no easy way to
procure the finely-textured starch from milled rice grains--until now.
Agricultural Research Service
Guraya, at the agency's
Regional Research Center in New Orleans, La., has found a more efficient
and environmentally-friendly way to separate a rice kernel's tightly-bound
portions of starch and protein.
Rice starch is a soft, white powder consisting of tiny particles only
a few microns in size. Because its particles are as small as fat globules, rice
starch granules are the preferred starch for use in reduced-fat foods, like
Rice protein, which is valued for its easy digestibility, can be found
in infant foods and formula, as well as in special dietary goods designed for
consumers with sensitivity to dairy products and other foods.
For 60 years, the only method to extract rice starch has relied on
large quantities of sodium hydroxide. Clumps of rice protein and starch are
steeped in an alkaline solution for several hours, which eventually frees up
the starch molecules. But this process generates large amounts of salts and
other potentially harmful waste products. Also, the rice protein that's
produced is degraded by the corrosive action of the salts, making it unfit for
Guraya has developed a method that instead relies on extremely high
pressure to do the separating. He uses a special homogenizer that can
physically split apart the starch-protein clumps by passing them through a tiny
opening. Guraya's approach also yields a usable rice protein.
This discovery could help rebuild the rice starch and protein
production industries in the United States, which now imports about $40 million
worth of rice starch each year.
about the rice-starch research in the February issue of Agricultural
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.