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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

2018 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, 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 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. 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 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. 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 cereal flour with navy bean, soy, and lupin 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 legume based materials.


4. Accomplishments
1. Novel gluten free food ingredients. The combination of ancient grain and oat for the purpose of development of food ingredients provides a series of gluten free food ingredient options. Amaranth-oat composites were 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, and high speed homogenizing with cold water or hot water by ARS researchers in Peoria, Illinois. The results showed that water holding capacities, pasting, and rheological properties were dramatically increased by wet blending, high shear blender with cold water, and high shear blender 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. In addition, the dietary fiber contents of composites were increased by the incorporation of OBC. The composites can be inexpensively prepared and processed. The new healthful products will be affordable for people who suffer from celiac disease or gluten-intolerant. These innovative gluten-free functional food products will help millions of gluten sensitive consumers enjoy heart-healthy functional foods.

2. Gluten free sugar cookies from amaranth (Salvia hispanica L.) and navy bean flours. The combination of ancient grain and legume (navy bean) could yield highly nutritional food ingredients with complete amino acid profile needed for ultimate human health. In order to make the combination work in food formulations and industrial production, a number of studies regarding the effects of incorporation of navy bean on various properties of dough and food products need to be conducted. The physical properties of flour blends, dough, and cookies were evaluated. ARS researchers in Peoria, Illinois found that navy bean and its blends with amaranth had higher water holding capacities (WHC) compared to wheat flour. The increased WHC was observed as the amount of navy bean flours increased in blends. The amaranth flour had the highest water soluble index (WSI) and pasting viscosities. The WSI, pasting viscosities and rheological elastic properties of composites were improved by amaranth flour. Differences were also found in geometrical and textural properties of the doughs and cookies. The cookies made from flour blends have lower width and spread factors; however, they had higher thickness and volume resulting in higher yield (volume of product per volume dough) compared to wheat flour. Overall, the cookies made by amaranth, navy bean, and their blends were rated "acceptable" in color, flavor, texture, and overall acceptability in the sensory study. The flavorings of vanilla, cinnamon, and almond extracts improved sensory scores of cookies made from blends, making them indistinguishable from cookies using wheat flour. This study suggested that the amaranth-navy bean blends could be good gluten-free candidates for functional food products.

3. Utilization of non-traditional food protein – lupin. Many edible legumes contain high amounts of proteins, fibers, minerals and vitamins. Their essential amino acid composition and concentration complements the amino acids in wheat and other cereals. In addition, breads fortified with protein rich legumes make the breads more palatable. ARS researchers in Peoria, Illinois evaluated breads made from wheat flour partially substituted with soybean, navy bean, and lupin flours at 10%, 20%, and 30% levels. The physicochemical properties of breads were measured and compared with the control (made from 100% wheat flour). The breads fortified with soybean, lupin and navy bean flours showed remarkable springiness, similar to the breads made from wheat flour. However, the higher amount of substitution increased the firmness of the breads, probably due to the incorporation of additional fibers and proteins into the formulations. Higher substitution levels may result in a higher reduction in volume for all legumes tested. The volume reduction as a result of legume substitution appears to be navy bean flour > soybean flour > lupin flour. The inclusion of legumes in the bread formulations imparts a slightly darker crust color and crumb color with the exception of breads with the soybean flour substitution. Lupin appears to be the best substitution candidate among the legumes tested for fortified bread making in terms of conventional wheat bread characteristics (volume, color). Lupin can be presented as a high-value protein source in developing marketable foods for health conscious consumers.


Review Publications
Liu, S., Chen, D., Xu, J. 2018. The effect of partially substituted lupin, soybean, and navy bean flours on wheat bread quality. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 9:840-854.

Liu, S.X., Chen, D., Xu, J. 2017. Evaluation of gluten-free amaranth and navy bean flour blends on quality of sugar cookies. Journal of Food Research. 6(6):63-73.