Thursday, July 07, 2005

Animal Feed Staple Might Evolve to Super Food of the Future

South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) announced this week that it will collaborate with eight other African research organisations in a $17m project to develop a more nutritious sorghum cereal, reports the country's Business Day publication.

Africa grows more than 50% of the world's sorghum, adapted to harsh climatic conditions, which is the dietary staple for more than a half billion poor people worldwide.

But it lacks important vitamins and minerals. According to the CSIR, the new research aims to boost levels of vitamins A and E, iron, zinc, and essential amino acids.

In the West, amid recent high prices for corn and wheat, the resilient sorghum grain has been the focus of research to tease out new functionalities from this cheap, easy to grow food crop.

Used principally for animal feed by 'developed' countries, in a recent ARS (US government) study, food scientist Scott Bean at ARS in Manhattan, Kansas, investigated the kernels of food-grade sorghum, aiming to bring the gluten-free grain into mainstream food products such as breads, biscuits, pizza crusts and noodles.

"We are working on identifying the chemical reasons behind why certain sorghum hybrids are of much better quality – crumb grain, texture of bread – than others," said Scott Bean, lead researcher on the project.

We already know most experts believe the goji berry is possibly the most nutritionally dense food on our planet. It will be interesting to see how the new sorghum of the future measures up.

Stay tuned!

Source: FoodNavigator/Europe