An international team of researchers is working to produce better quality pasta that could contribute to improving health.
The projects, being conducted by researchers in Australia and Italy, due to begin next month, aim to produce ‘super spaghetti’ that contains a range of functional ingredients that could offer consumers potential health benefits.
Led by Professor Rachel Burton from the University of Adelaide, the two new research projects will aim to improve fundamental understandings of key aspects of durum wheat cell walls – commonly used for making pasta.
"The term 'super spaghetti' is beginning to excite scientists, nutritionists and food manufacturers around the world," said Burton.
Two research projects – both led by Burton – will be in collaboration with researchers from the Italian universities of Bari and Molise. The first project, in conjunction with the University of Bari, will investigate how the growth of durum wheat affects the levels of starch and dietary fibre within it, and how the fibre levels in pasta can be improved.
The second project, working with the University of Molise, will investigate the important roles played by two major components of dietary fibre - arabinoxylans and beta-glucans - in the quality of pasta and bread dough.
“In simple terms, 'super spaghetti' means that it contains a range of potential health benefits for the consumer, such as reducing the risk of heart disease or colorectal cancer,” Burton explained. “Our research – in collaboration with our Italian colleagues - is aimed at achieving that, but we're also looking to improve the quality of pasta as well as its health properties.”
Professor Geoff Fincher, also of the University of Adelaide, said the new projects bring together complementary expertise and resources from across the globe to work towards a common goal.
“Our centre has the opportunity to address key scientific issues and produce results that are meaningful to industries and communities worldwide."
Fincher added that the projects could help pasta manufacturers in Australia and Italy to carve a niche by supplying domestic markets with specialist pasta products that will benefit the health of consumers.