Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) and the Research and Development of Functional Food Centre (CIDAF, for its initials in Spanish) along with two Italian universities, have developed a 'super-spaghetti' of enriched pasta, elaborated with functional flours, which contains more fibre and proteins than normal pasta and that helps reducing the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases.
The researchers, who published part of their results in Food Research International magazine, have proven that new green technologies (such as the so called 'air classification') allow us to obtain functional flours using the whole cereal grain, thus avoiding waste by-products production during the milling process.
As Ana María Gómez Caravaca, lead researcher for this project, explains, the air classification process allows to divide milling by-products in two different fractions (coarse and fine) by means of a physical process that doesn't modify the properties of the obtained fractions.
"These fractions have different chemical characteristics due to their different properties, and they will be used depending on the final product we want to obtain. Our work has proven how we can obtain two fractions by air-classifying whole barley flour, one of them is enriched in antioxidant compounds and soluble fibre (specially betaglucans), and the other contains more proteins", the researcher from the UGR says.
More antioxidants and soluble fibre
This research, carried out with the collaboration of two Italian universities (University of Bologna and University of Molise) and partially funded by the CEI BioTic centre, has also been used for elaborating spaghetti using the coarse fraction. The results obtained have proven that the fraction used in the elaboration of spaghetti allows to enrich the final product in soluble fibre (betaglucans) as well as in catechin-derived antioxidant compounds.
"Comparing the obtained final product with the ones available at the market we observed that our spaghetti was specially rich in betaglucans. The amount of betaglucans present in our functional spaghetti fulfilled the requirements of the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to be able to label it as 'good source of fibre' and 'might lessen the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases'".
Not in vane, due to the technological novelty that this product is, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has devoted an article in its website to it, calling the product a 'super-spaghetti' (available here).
Professor Gómez Caravaca says that the results obtained so far have allowed two Italian companies to develop a new line of pasta using coarse fractions obtained by means of air classification.
"These products allow to reach, with a single dose (a dish of pasta), 70% of the daily betaglucans dose recommended by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)", the researcher concludes.