Scientists Developing Bread Rich in Beta-Glucan
By Jan Suszkiw
November 30, 2007
Guests visiting the laboratory of
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Mohamed might be surprised by the smell of fresh-baked bread, rather than
The "nose knows," though, because that's exactly what Mohamed is
doingbaking soft white bread that resembles any store-bought loaf, except
for a key difference: its beta-glucan content. Research suggests that, when
ingested, this soluble fiber helps the body regulate blood glucose and lower
"bad" cholesterol, diminishing the risk of coronary heart disease.
The bread owes its 0.75 grams of beta-glucan per serving to C-TRIM, a
barley- and oat-bran-based powder that Mohamed used in studies at the Cereal
Products and Food Science Research Unit (CPFSRU),
part of the
National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill.
He began researching beta-glucan bread in late 2005, shortly after another
CPFSRU researcher, chemist
Inglett, presented C-TRIM at an
Society meeting in Washington, DC. Inglett's ARS-patented product also cuts
calories in food by mimicking the properties of fats and complex carbohydrates.
Together with Oklahoma State
University professor Patricia Rayas-Duarte and CPFSRU physical scientist
Xu, Mohamed experimented with two dough formulations containing flour from
hard red spring wheat, gluten, 17 percent or 17.5 percent C-TRIM, and other
Adding C-TRIM didn't significantly change the bread's taste, texture or
volume, Mohamed notes, although it did darken the bread slightly. Using such
evaluations as baseline information, his team will conduct computer modeling
studies to predict what changes are likely when, for example, up to nine grams
of beta-glucan are added. Of particular interest is the biochemical interplay
between starch and protein, which can affect bread's volume and shelf life.
At current C-TRIM levels, a consumer would have to eat four slices of C-TRIM
bread per dayequal to three grams of beta-glucanin order to reap
the fiber's potential health benefits. But related applications of C-trim,
including in yoghurt and chocolate-dipped pretzels, could easily make increased
amounts of beta-glucan available to obtain those same benefits.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.