All fibred up

A new type of wheat, with ten times the amount of fibre than current varieties, has just had its first harvest in the US.

The new wheat could provide millions of people with a lot more fibre without having to change their eating habits.

The first US crop of the wheat, which is high in amylose, has been harvested in the American States of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

The wheat will be processed into flour and incorporated into a range of food products that Americans can expect to see appearing on their supermarket shelves in coming years.

Dr Ahmed Regina, a principal research scientist at CSIRO, said products made from high-amylose wheat contain more than ten times the resistant starch, a type of dietary fibre, than those made from regular wheat.

“Largely lacking in Western diets, resistant starch is known to improve digestive health, protect against the genetic damage that precedes bowel cancer and help combat Type 2 diabetes,” Ahmed said.

“Having a wheat with high levels of resistant starch enables people to get this important fibre without changing the type of grain they eat or the amount of grain-based foods they need for recommended dietary levels.”

The team responsible for developing the new type of wheat are hopeful an Australian-based company will capitalise on the opportunity to market it locally.

Lindsay Adler from CSIRO and an Arista director said the company was keen to find an Australian licensee who would develop a new product for local and possibly also Asian markets.

“This is an opportunity ripe for the picking, with customers across the world increasingly demanding foods with improved health benefits,” Lindsay said.

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