Examples of Ongoing Research Projects
Sodium Salt Functions and Reductions in Wheat Products
Background: Sodium is an essential nutrient, but excessive intake increases blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. Bread and other cereal products contribute 35% of daily sodium salt intake. There is an urgent need to reduce the salt in bread. Problems: Considerable lack of fundamental knowledge regarding salt’s technological functions in dough and bread limits the development of appropriate salt alternatives and salt reduction in bakery products. Objectives: This project will precisely define the chemical and physical interactions mediated by salt in doughs and bread and develop better approaches to mimic salt functions and improve cereal food quality, nutrition, and safety.
Developing Quality Whole Grain Products
Background: Whole grain is an excellent source of many essential nutrients with health benefits, but only 10—12% population consumes Dietary Guidelines recommended amount of whole grains. Problems: Barriers to whole grain consumption include product availability, palatability, appearance, cost, shelf life, convenience, etc. Objectives: This project is addressing some challenges of whole grain wheat products, particularly focusing on enhancing whole wheat flour storage-stability, improving dough rheological properties and bread texture, understanding interactions among the components and their correlations with dough and bread properties, developing whole wheat frozen doughs, and improving the antioxidant potential of whole wheat bread.
Functional Cereal Grain Protein Hydrolysates
Background: Plant proteins have advantages over animal proteins in terms of availability, less production cost, and low environmental impact. They have been under-utilized because of lacking nutritional, functional, and/or organoleptic properties. Problems: 1/3 of US corn and sorghum are used in biorefinery, producing 90 billion pounds of distiller’s grains (DG) each year. DG proteins possess antioxidative peptide sequences and structural domains. Objectives: This project is focusing on manipulated enzymatic hydrolysis of DG and other plant proteins to produce antioxidative peptides and identifying peptide composition-structure - activity relationships.
Gluten-free Bakery Products
Background: The gluten-free market has been steadily expanding and growing for years, driven by the needs of celiac patients, gluten allergenic individuals, and people who choose to avoid gluten in their diets. Bakery products account for 55% of the market volume, particularly with a high demand for gluten-free bread. Problems: Current GFBs, mostly based on flours and starches from rice, corn, potato, and/or tapioca, often have low nutritional value, poor texture, and short shelf-life. Palatable, nutritious, and stable GFBs are needed. Objectives: This project is developing essential science and technology for the production of quality GFBs from whole grains, pseudocereals, pulses, and soy products.