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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Research Project #428735

Research Project: Innovative Processing Technologies for Creating Functional Food Ingredients with Health Benefits from Food Grains, their Processing Products, and By-products

Location: Functional Foods Research

2016 Annual Report


1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1. Identify and integrate, for commercial use, food grain bioactive components that promote health beyond their basic nutritional values and examine their structures and interactions between biologically active constituents and other nutritional components in functional foods. Sub-objective 1A. Identify, extract, and develop new health promoting bioactive hydrocolloidal fractions and their commercilizable products from gluten-free grains and ancient grains by processing, separating, and enzymatic modification technologies. Sub-objective 1B. Characterize the biological activity of the new health promoting bioactive hydrocolloids and soluble dietary fibers compositions from gluten-free grains and ancient grains. Objective 2. Enable new commercial processing technologies that protect, stabilize, or maintain the activity of sensitive bioactive components throughout processing, handling, and storage. Sub-objective 2A. Examine and evaluate various enzyme systems for fragmenting gluten-free grains and ancient grains and their products including flours, hulls, and particle components along with analysis and testing for antioxidant components and hydrocolloidal components with collaborators from academia, industry, and other ARS scientists. Sub-objective 2B. Examine microstructural and macrostructural properties of processed functional fractions/extracts from gluten-free grains including ancient grains using light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and various particle scattering methods, and investigate the influences of these structures on interaction between functional components and flavors in food matrices and rheological properties (ultimately to sensory properties such as texture and mouthfeel and processbility of the functional materials in food processing). Sub-objective 2C. Evaluate the newly-created health-promoting compositions from gluten-free grains and ancient grains for their functional qualities in food including taste, texture, and color. Engage end user stakeholder groups in collaborative projects for technology transfer activities of the technologies and associated products. After the developed bioactive hydrocolloids and soluble dietary fibers are available from pilot plant production, evaluations will be carried out with various food applications, such as beverages, baked goods, and meats.


1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The long term goal of this project is to promote optimal health and wellness by creating innovative and economically viable food ingredients from gluten-free grains including some ancient grains. The hypothesis is that conversion of grain milling products into bioactive functional ingredients will lead to creating natural hydrocolloids, clean-labeled bioactive compound fractions or concentrates, and related composites that are suitable and desirable for use in functional foods. We base that hypothesis on the following observations: 1) milled grain products contain large quantities of bioactive and phyto-protective compounds, 2) research on phytochemical enrichment and extraction has proven that physical, chemical, and enzymatic treatment can produce phyto-protective and bioactive rich materials as food ingredients. Preliminary studies indicated that they did not appear to interfere with processing/manufacturing properties and sensory profiles in food formulations. Based on these observations, we will conduct basic and applied research on development of functional ingredients from mainly gluten-free ancient grains and related byproducts by determining their processing parameters and structure/property characteristics. Furthermore, structural and physical properties will also be determined by using microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, rapid visco analyzer (RVA), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). They also will be evaluated for their biological activities, chemical, and processing properties for applications in functional foods. The research will build upon our prior successes with the Trim products, a series of widely commercialized functional ingredients produced from cereal grains. This research will help the continued advancement in food science that has moved the food industry along towards creating foods that promote optimal health and wellness.


3. Progress Report:
The recent research has generated science and technologies for developing new functional food opportunities, functional food ingredients, market applications, and products with increased health benefits. New high-value food products from agricultural commodities as well as their by-products were utilized as described in National Program 306. Research conducted on the ancient grains, such as amaranth, teff, and quinoa, which have special nutrition and gluten free qualities compared with ordinary grains. They contain excellent sources of protein, fiber, minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc), antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. Additionally, ancient grains are rich in vitamin E and B vitamins. In contrast to wheat and rice, ancient grains are whole grains with their bran, germ, and endosperm which make them more nutritious. Unlike the protein found in wheat and rye, ancient grains amaranth, quinoa, and teff contain a promising source of protein for people that are sensitive to gluten since they are gluten free. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people when ingestion of gluten damages the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are at risk for long-term health complications from gluten. Therefore, these studies are important for American health. Research was continued on innovative composites containing soluble fiber hydrocolloids from oat products and amino acids from ancient grains. These new composites have special amino acids and nutritional components along with beta-glucan developed from prior Trim products. The new bioactive components are found in our new composites prepared from ancient grains and oat products. These studies added new bioactive ingredients to functional foods including soluble fibers and essential amino acids. New and expanded markets for cereal grains including the utilization of agricultural by-products are important for improving the profitability of American agriculture. These functional food ingredients can improve health and reduce medical expenses. These new bioactive food ingredients can be easily incorporated into healthy food formulations. They will be used to expand Trim technologies and developments from the prior project. Applications were explored on the uses of our new bioactive ingredients for functional foods at the commercial level. A number of functional foods with bioactive ingredients will enhance efficacy, bioavailability, and safety. Innovative cookies containing teff-oat composites were developed for increasing health benefits and improving textures. These food products have enhanced nutrition and improved textures compared to wheat flour alone. These innovative teff-oat cookies have nutritional and textual qualities from ancient grains and oat products containing beta-glucan known for lowering blood cholesterol and preventing heart disease. Research was also conducted on chemical analytical methods. Free and bound phenolic and antioxidant activities were studied for selected gluten-free ancient grains. The results reported useful information on health benefits of functional foods. New studies were initiated on processing composites in pilot plant. The effect of thermo-mechanical processing was studied on yield, qualities, and textures of hydrocolloids and soluble fibers. The new health promoting bioactive soluble fibers were evaluated and characterized. Study was also conducted on the effect of partial replacement of teff flour with oat-based fractions on the properties of the extruded products. The results show the possibility of improving the nutritional and physical properties of extruded teff by adding oat-based materials.


4. Accomplishments
1. Developed amaranth-oat, quinoa-oat, and teff-oat composites with gluten free ancient grains and bioactive oat. Since two and one-half million Americans are at risk for long-term health complications from gluten and other health problems, teff-oat composites were developed for health benefits including reducing heart problems, diabetes, and obesity. Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois, developed teff-oat composites using gluten free teff flour containing essential amino acids and minerals along with oat products containing beta-glucan known for lowering blood cholesterol. Oat products used were oat bran concentrate, an oat bran hydrocolloid, and whole oat flour. After numerous tests and screenings, feasible procedures were developed for commercial production. All teff-oat composites showed increased water holding and pasting viscosities with increasing oat contents compared to wheat flour. All composites had shear thinning properties that are important for mouthfeel and industrial applications. These teff-oat composites improve nutritional and textural qualities, and will save significant medical expenses.

2. Application of innovative teff-oat composites in cookies. Novel gluten-free cookies with special nutritional qualities were developed by Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois, using innovative teff composites for improving qualities and health benefits. The teff-oat composites (4:1) were used in cookies for improving nutritional and physical properties. Teff and its composites had higher water holding capacities compared to wheat flour. The pasting viscosities of teff-OBC and teff-WOF 4:1 composites were similar to teff flour alone, but they were all higher than wheat flour. The elastic properties of teff-OBC and teff-WOF doughs were slightly higher than teff dough. Differences were found in geometrical and textural properties of the doughs and cookies. Overall, the teff-oat cookies were acceptable in color, flavor, and texture. The cookies using teff-oat composites with gluten free quality could be useful for functional foods. This research explored new agriculture markets for American farmer along with increasing health benefits for consumers.

3. Research conducted on chemical analytical methods of selected gluten-free ancient grains. Antioxidant substances are important for good health and the activities of grains could be underestimated in the literature. Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois, first reported free and bound phenolic and antioxidant activities for selected gluten-free ancient grains. Bound antioxidant activities were much higher than the free antioxidant activities regardless of solvents for all grains. Our study suggested that the total phenolic contents and antioxidant activities of grains could be underestimated in the literature without considering the bound phenolic compounds. Regular consumption of ancient grains and oat products reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels while improving antioxidant status and some immune parameters. The results disclosed the health benefits of gluten free ancient grains and will be useful information for further research and literatures references.

4. Research on the effect of thermo-mechanical processing on yield and quality of composites. The dry composites were mainly suitable for baking products. Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois, processed amaranth and oat composites using six innovative technologies for enhancing the utilization of ancient grains and oat hydrocolloids for exploring various healthy foods. The results showed surprising water holding capacities and unexpected physical properties by using different technologies. The processed composites can be used as drinks, instant porridge, and baking ingredients with improved properties. These composites were prepared by feasible procedures and have acceptable cost for those people having celiac disease. Innovated gluten-free functional food products impact two and one-half million Americans sensitive to gluten, save medical expenses, and enhance ARS-USDA mission and growth for U.S. economy.

5. Study on the effect of partial replacement of teff flour with oat-based fractions on the properties of the extruded products. Teff is an ancient grain that is becoming more popular since it is gluten-free and a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Relatively little is known about the properties of extruded teff, although the high insoluble fiber and protein contents have been shown to limit expansion of extruded materials. The health benefits of oat soluble fiber are well known, and soluble fiber has also been shown to improve the expansion of extruded materials. This work studied the effect of partial replacement of teff flour with oat-based fractions on the properties of the extruded products. Three levels of whole oat flour, oat bran concentrate, and oat beta-glucan was used by Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois, and the effects of extrusion temperature and moisture content were studied. This study shows the possibility of improving the nutritional and physical properties of extruded teff by adding oat-based materials.


5. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations:
None.


Review Publications
Inglett, G.E., Chen, D., Liu, S.X. 2015. Functional properties of teff and oat composites. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 6:1591-1602.

Inglett, G.E., Chen, D., Liu, S.X. 2016. Physical properties of gluten free sugar cookies containing teff and functional oat products. Journal of Food Research. 5(3):72-84.