A new type of wheat that has ten times the amount of the fibre which helps improve gut health and also fights bowel cancer and Type 2 diabetes than normal wheat has been developed by an international team including CSIRO.
The new wheat could provide millions of people with a lot more fibre without having to change their eating habits.
In the American States of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, a small number of farmers have just harvested the first US crop of the wheat, which is high in amylose.
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 contained 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," Dr Ahmed Regina said.
"Wheat is the most popular source of dietary fibre and eaten by 30 per cent of the world's population, whether it's in bread, pizzas, pastas or tortillas.
"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.
The wheat is a result of a collaboration which started in 2006 between CSIRO, and French company Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients, and the Grains Research and Development Corporation on developing wheat varieties with a higher content of resistant starch.
Together they spun out a company called Arista Cereal Technologies.
A breakthrough came when they identified two particular enzymes, that when reduced in wheat, increased the amylose content.
"From there, we used a conventional breeding approach, not GM techniques, and managed to increase the amylose content of wheat grain from around 20 or 30 per cent to ...
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