12 January - 20 June 2016

New super nutritious puffed rice

9 Jan 13

A new process for blowing up grains of rice produces a super-nutritious form of puffed rice, with three times more protein and a rich endowment of other nutrients that make it ideal for breakfast cereals, snack foods and nutrient bars for school lunch programs, scientists from Cornell University in the USA are reporting.  The study appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.  Commercial puffed rice is made by steam extrusion, where an extruder squeezes rice flour mixed with water through a narrow opening at high temperature and pressure.  On exiting the nozzle, the rice puffs up as steam expands and escapes.  However, this process can destroy heat-sensitive nutrients.  The scientists looked for a way to avoid that loss and also to enrich rice with protein and other nutrients during the puffing process.  They turned to a process that uses supercritical carbon dioxide, which has been used for making decaffeinated coffee and in other applications.  The fortified puffed rice using this process contained 8% dietary fibre, 21.5% protein, and iron, zinc, and vitamins A and C at their recommended daily values in 100 g of product.  In total, the puffed rice provided three times more protein and eight times more dietary fibre than commercial puffed rice.  Their puffed rice was also crispier than commercial products, giving it a better taste and crunch.  The balanced nutritional profile and use of staple crop by-products such as broken rice makes these expanded crisps unique to the marketplace.

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