August 29, 2012

Scientists: “Super Spaghetti” Will Be Healthier

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Researchers are turning dreams into a reality by attempting to create a better quality "super spaghetti."

Next month, two research projects will kick off to create a better quality pasta that is more nutritious for you.

The scientists from the Italian universities of Bari and Molise are looking at the fundamental role of cell walls in plants to determine how they might be better utilized. The teams will be looking at key aspects of the cell walls in durum wheat, which is used in making pasta.

The first project will be investigating how the growth of durum wheat affects the levels of starch and dietary fibers within it. It will also be determining how the fiber levels in pasta can be improved.

The second project will investigate the roles played by dietary fiber in the quality of pasta and bread dough.

"The term 'super spaghetti' is beginning to excite scientists, nutritionists, and food manufacturers around the world," Associate Professor Rachel Burton, Program Leader with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls and chief investigator on both projects, said in a statement.

ARC Centre of Excellence director Professor Geoff Fincher said the goal of the center is to address key scientific issues and produce meaningful results to the public.

"These new projects highlight one of the great strengths of our Centre of Excellence, which is the ability to bring together complementary expertise and resources from across the globe to work towards a common goal," Fincher said in the statement.

He said pasta manufacturers in South Australia and Italy may benefit from these projects by creating a niche supply for domestic markets with specialized pasta marketed towards consumers who wish to eat healthy.

"Being able to sell high-quality South Australian durum wheat within a competitive market like Italy could bring economic benefits," Fincher added. "Approximately 27 kg (59 pounds) of pasta is consumed per year per person in Italy, compared with just 4 kg (9 pounds) per person in Australia," he says.

Like Popeye has his spinach, so might one day people in Italy and other places in the world have their super spaghetti.