DENVER — A project to extend the shelf life and improve the flavor of whole wheat products will be the first embodiment of a collaboration announced Nov. 6 between Ardent Mills, L.L.C., Denver, and Arcadia Biosciences Inc., Davis, Calif.
The project relies on Arcadia’s patented “extended shelf life” wheat trait technology. Flour milled from that wheat oxidizes more slowly, extending its storage life, reducing waste and improving the taste by minimizing the bitterness some consumers associate with whole wheat products.
“This new trait was developed through traditional breeding,” said Shrene White, general manager of The Annex by Ardent Mills. “While innovative thinking has brought it this far, further collaboration will continue between Ardent Mills, Arcadia and university partners to bring this trait to commercial reality.”
Arcadia’s proprietary non-G.M. wheat genetic diversity library was the genesis of the trait that slows the enzymatic processes that reduce shelf life, for which the company recently received its latest patent. An extensive and exclusive resource of trait lines with high-density variations in genetic composition and gene function comprises the library, the companies said. The agricultural biotechnology company was founded in 2002 and later developed a reduced-gluten and enhanced starch variety called GoodWheat.
“As the leading flour supplier and grain innovator in North America, Ardent Mills is the ideal partner to bring this technology to the market,” said Raj Ketkar, president and chief executive officer of Arcadia. “Wheat is an important source of fiber, protein, nutrients and minerals for consumers throughout the world, and these creative approaches to improving the functional properties of wheat can have a significant impact on the future of whole grain consumption.”
Both companies said the non-G.M. trait has wide application potential in conventional and organic farming practices. Ardent, the largest flour miller in the United States, views commercial use of the trait technology as a boon to the entire food industry supply chain.
“For several years, we have been investing in this strategy,” said Daniel P. Dye, c.e.o. of Ardent. “We see this trait as a big and important step forward that will benefit bakers, food manufacturers, the food service industry, and ultimately consumers.”