High-fiber wheat variety becomes available to U.S. farmers

by Jeff Gelski
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High-fiber wheat
The new high-fiber wheat variety contains more than 10 times the amount of resistant starch found in conventional wheat.
 

SAN MATEO, CALIF. — U.S. farmers are growing a high-fiber wheat variety developed by Australian researchers. The flour from the wheat should be available to bakers and food manufacturers on a trial basis next year.

The high-amylose wheat contains more than 10 times the amount of resistant starch when compared to conventional wheat. Research has shown resistant starch may improve digestive health, protect against the genetic damage that precedes bowel cancer and help combat type 2 diabetes.

Scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia and Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients, based in France, collaborated to develop the wheat variety. It has amylose content of about 85%, which compares to 20% or 30% in regular wheat. The higher amylose content leads to a higher resistant starch content.

Bay State Milling, Quincy, Mass., has contracted with farmers in Minnesota and Washington to grow about 1,000 acres of the wheat. The resulting flour will be marketed as HealthSense high fiber wheat flour.

Peter Levangie, Bay State Milling
Peter Levangie, c.e.o. of Bay State Milling

“We are very excited to launch HealthSense in the U.S. and change the way Americans think about wheat,” said Peter Levangie, chief executive officer of Bay State Milling. “HealthSense will deliver flour functionality to our customers and fiber benefits to consumers, enabling better human health through the foods they love to eat.”

CSIRO, a research organization that invented the Wi-Fi technology, opened a U.S. office in San Mateo in September.

“Wheat is the most popular source of fiber and eaten by 30% of the world’s population, whether it’s in bread, pizzas, pastas or tortillas,” said Ahmed Regina, Ph.D., a principal research scientist at CSIRO. “Having a wheat with high levels of resistant starch enables people to get this important fiber without changing the type of grain they eat or the amount of grain-based foods they need for recommended dietary levels.” 
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