Navigation Links
Scientists using X-ray vision to produce more nutritious flour

Pioneering research combining plant breeding and high-intensity x-rays is being used by scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to explore the possibility of developing wheat which could be used to make potentially life-saving mineral enriched flour. The research is highlighted in the latest issue of Business, the quarterly highlights magazine of BBSRC.

Scientists from Rothamsted Research, an institute of BBSRC, are using high powered x-rays from the world famous Diamond Light Source, a third generation synchrotron in Oxfordshire to carry out fluorescence analysis in favour of traditional staining techniques to identify new wheat varieties with added health benefits. This rapid approach not only locates several different minerals simultaneously, but also provides information about their chemistry and digestibility.

Dr Andrew Neal who leads the project explains: "Essentially we are looking for new healthier grain. Diet deficiency is a big global issue; nearly one million people a year die worldwide as a result of iron and zinc deficiency. Milling methods and our preference for white flour products over wholegrain means that much of the essential mineral content of wheat grains is lost during milling to produce white flour. We are looking for ways to increase iron and zinc quantities in white flour, ensuring they end up in our diet."

A wheat grain consists of bran (the outer layer), the germ (or embryo) and white flour (or starchy endosperm). Wheat bran and germ are rich in protein, fibre, oil, vitamins and minerals but the endosperm has little valuable mineral content meaning white flour is virtually devoid of minerals.

Using an x-ray beam line, Neal exposes grains to microfocussed high intensity x-rays. As the x-rays encounter different minerals, characteristic fluorescence x-rays are emitted. Scanning across the energy range of fluorescent x-rays shows a great deal about the properties of the grains including where and how much of each mineral is present, and how each mineral is complexed within the various regions of the grain.

Neal explains: "It is certainly early days for this approach, but already we are showing that we can screen-out unsuitable lines early on, preventing breeders wasting investment in them and we are able to view wheat grains in a whole new way. I am hopeful this new approach has real promise to aid nutritious grain development and help answer some of the pressing issues regarding providing more nutritious food from limited productive farmland to feed our increasingly growing population."

Commenting on the research, BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Doug Kell, said: "Food security is a huge challenge for the world. We must not forget that it is not enough to secure enough food for people, we must ensure science helps to deliver enough nutritious food. Research of this type has huge potential both in the UK and abroad and could help to develop products that people want to eat, while increasing their mineral content."


Contact: Tracey Jewitt
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Related biology news :

1. Scientists identify Ecuadors Yasuni National Park as one of most biodiverse places on earth
2. Scientists hope to end sleeping sickness by making parasite that causes it self-destruct
3. CSHL scientists use next-gen sequencing to rapidly discover genetic cause of devastating disorder
4. UW-Madison scientists create super-strong collagen
5. Scientists find amazing new pondlife on nature reserve
6. New spider species discovered by University of Haifa scientists
7. Eminent group of scientists call for moratorium on issuance of mountaintop mining permits
8. CSHL scientists uncover role of protein critical for activating DNA replication
9. Scientists breakthrough in production of biofuels
10. Scientists create early-warning system to defend rare Jersey cows from continental disease
11. New discovery by Harvard scientists aims to correct cellular defects leading to diabetes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/18/2017)... April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based ... edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. ... by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec ... show at the Las Vegas Convention Center ... Click here ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market ... Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast ... from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... BROOKLYN, N.Y. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York ... University College of Engineering have found that partial ... fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and ... previously thought. The vulnerability lies in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most ... you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and ... unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... the Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. ... The Institute of Cancer Research, London ... use MMprofiler™ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients ... trial known as MUK nine . The University of ... trial, which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has unveiled ... bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to new ... , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking classes ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates ... will speak at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 ... in the residential home security market and how smart safety and security ... Parks Associates: ... "The residential security ...
Breaking Biology Technology: