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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

2017 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 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 project is based on the following observable facts: 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. Based on these observations, we conducted 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 were and are being 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 were evaluated for their rheological properties, chemical, and processing properties for applications in functional foods. The research builds upon our prior successes with the innovative dietary fiber products, a series of widely commercialized functional ingredients produced from cereal grains. This research ultimately will help the continued advancement in food science that has moved the food industry along towards creating foods that promote optimal health and wellness. The recent research has generated knowledge and technologies for developing new functional food opportunities, functional food ingredients, market applications, and products with increased health benefits. Research conducted on the ancient grains, such as amaranth, teff, and quinoa, which have special nutrition and gluten free qualities compared with common ordinary grains, has demonstrated the potential role of ancient grains as functional food ingredients. 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. Therefore, these studies are important for the health of a large number of Americans. 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 dietary fiber 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 new bioactive food ingredients can be easily incorporated into healthy food formulations. They will be used to expand innovative fiber 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. Novel composites of ancient grains and pulses, which are equally healthful and have complementary amino acid profiles vis a vis ancient grains, are being tested and studied to develop super functional food ingredients that are nutritionally complete and functional in various food formulations. 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. Dietary fiber, 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 the 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 navy bean fractions on the properties of the baked products. The results show the possibility of improving the nutritional and physical properties of ancient grains by adding oat-based or pulse based materials.


4. Accomplishments
1. Physical properties and consumer acceptance of amaranth-navy bean composites in cookie formulations. Amaranth-navy composites were developed using gluten free amaranth flour (Salvia hispanica L.) containing essential amino acids and minerals with navy bean flour known for dietary fiber and vitamins. Amaranth-navy bean composites were used in sugar cookies for improving nutritional and physical properties. Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois, found that navy bean and its composites had higher water holding capacities (WHC), which is a very important parameter of texture and mouth feel of cookies, compared to wheat flour, and the increased WHC was observed as the amount of navy bean flours increased in composites. The flavorings with vanilla, cinnamon, and almond extracts improved sensory scores that were close to the cookies with wheat flour and higher than the cookies using same formula without flavoring. This study demonstrated that heart-healthy amaranth-navy bean composites can be used successfully in baking goods formulations for the health food market.

2. Development of amaranth-oat composites for wheat flour replacement. Replacement of wheat flour was developed using gluten free amaranth flour containing essential amino acids and minerals with oat products containing beta-glucan, known for lowering blood cholesterol. Amaranth flour and oat bran concentrate (OBC) composites (1:4) were processed using different technologies, including dry mixing, baking, steaming, cold wet blending, homogenization with cold water, and homogenization with hot water. Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois, showed results that water holding capacities, pasting, and rheological properties, which are important parameters for processing in an industrial setting and handling, and consumers’ sensory responses, were dramatically increased by wet blended, homogenization with cold water, and homogenization with hot water followed by drum drying. The processing procedures created dissimilar physical properties that will enhance the application of ancient grains and oat for functional foods that are suitable for people who are gluten-intolerant. This line of composites can be used to replace wheat flour in many baking foods, potentially creating a new market for gluten-free and health food markets.

3. Soluble fiber beta-glucan is one of the key dietary materials in the healthy food products known for reducing serum cholesterol levels. The physical properties of beta-glucan can impact handling of food material in food processing as well as food product structure and texture. The difference in structures of beta-glucan in food matrices under different processing conditions are important parameters that contribute to the overall physical properties of food materials containing beta-glucan. High-viscosity barley beta-glucan solutions were investigated by Agricultural Research Service researchers in Peoria, Illinois. Providing this information is useful for the food industry in developing healthful food products using beta-glucan or substituting existing ingredients with beta-glucan as formulators can avoid potential pitfalls in food handling or processing as well ensure familiar sensory properties of existing food product lines that now contain beta-glucan.


Review Publications
Mathew, E., Singh, M. 2016. Ancient grains and pseudocereals: chemical compositions, nutritional benefits, and roles in 21st century diets. Cereal Foods World. 61(5):198-203. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1094/CFW-61-5-0198.

Liu, S.X., Chen, D., Inglett, G.E., Xu, J. 2017. The effect of thermo-mechanical processing on physical properties of processed amaranth and oat bran composites. Journal of Food Research. 6(2):82-91.

Xu, J., Inglett, G.E., Liu, S.X., Boddu, V.M. 2016. Micro-heterogeneity and micro-rheological properties of high-viscosity barley beta-glucan solutions studied by diffusion wave spectroscopy (DWS). Food Biophysics. 11(4):339-344.