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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Research Project #438210

Research Project: Improved Processes and Technologies for Comprehensive Utilization of Speciality Grains in Functional Food Production for Digestive Health and Food Waste Reduction

Location: Functional Foods Research

Project Number: 5010-41000-182-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: May 4, 2020
End Date: May 3, 2025

Objective:
Objective 1: Innovate processes to improve the properties of underutilized crops such as sorghum, millet, and hemp seed (SMHS), and their byproducts to enable increased commercial use. •Sub-objective 1A: Enhance the health-promoting and commercially important functional properties of SMHS flours, fractions and byproducts by thermomechanical processing treatments alone or in combination to obtain new components and composites. •Sub-objective 1B: Enhance the health-promoting and commercially important functional properties of SMHS flours, fractions and byproducts by chemical/enzymatic treatments alone or in combination with either thermomechanical processing. •Sub-objective 1C: Enhance the health-promoting and commercially important functional properties of SMHS flours, fractions and byproducts by addition of other grain- or legume-based ingredients for functional composite formation, nutritionally complete diets, and flavor, texture, or structure improvement of food matrices. Objective 2: Integrate the digestive health attributes of various SMHS components and their composites following innovative applications to improve process economics of food products and develop bioproduct ingredients using SMHS components. •Sub-objective 2A: Develop food applications from SMHS components and conduct digestive health study. •Sub-objective 2B: Develop non-food applications from SMHS components.

Approach:
The dietary benefits of sorghum, millet, and hemp seed (SMHS) are well established and are increasingly recognized as valuable sources of protein, starch, fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients. These crops are also drought resistant. They are, however, underutilized and used mainly for animal feed and biofuel production (sorghum) in the Unites States. The overall goal of this project plan is to convert these underutilized crops and their byproducts from milling and biofuel production into value-added food products and bio-products based upon their nutritional, physiochemical or chemical properties. There exist two primary challenges facing wider utilization of SMHS:1) consumption barrier that stems from characteristics of SMHS and perception; 2) byproducts of biofuel (sorghum) and milling of SMHS could be better utilized to defray production cost. We will focus on identifying the effects of synergistic thermomechanical and biological treatments on SMHS grains, flours, and fractions and developing processing strategy based upon understanding of SMHS component interactions and information of in vitro and in vivo digestive health studies to enhance the nutritional, structural and functional properties of SMHS based food products. The processed SMHS materials will be incorporated into standard food formulations with the aim of maximizing the content of SMHS-based ingredients with marketable sensory properties. Non-food applications will also be investigated based on physical and chemical properties of the end products. The outcomes of this research will expand domestic and international markets for SMHS crops and therefore contribute to the sustainability of US agriculture in the era of climate change.