Australia’s first no oxygen mill

Organic industry stakeholders are proving they can think ahead when it comes to incorporating cutting-edge food technology innovations into their systems with certified organic miller, Z-Mills, being just one month away from the launch of Australia’s first no-oxygen, zero light and low-heat mill.

According to Alligrator — the Queensland-based company responsible for the mill’s design — managing director, Arthur Coert, the system has the potential to “revolutionise the niche markets of high-quality and organic food processing,” creating a flour product better for both human and environmental health.

The mill requires no water to operate and uses up to thirty percent less energy than its high-heat counterparts.

Coert said its ‘cool milling’ process — which concentrates on production of a wholemeal wheat product in a low heat environment (roughly 4 degrees celcius) — does not result in high percentage nutrient losses which can occur in popular high heat milling systems, and retains important nutrients present in the original grain kernel, including vitamins, phtyochemcials, enzymes, amino acids, minerals and essential oils.

“Under ‘cool milling’ the food remains alive and the whole material, wholesome — it creates a truly premium health product,” he said.

Z-Mills CEO, Thomas Cunliffe, said non-loss of grain roughage and fibre in the Alligrator system could substantially increase the nutritional value of processed grain product staples like flour, eliminating the need for further synthetic nutrient fortification.

He said many of the Alligrator mill’s enhanced efficiencies come from the fact it operates with just one moving piece, producing a fine powder from grains that spend on average, one third of a second in the milling chamber.

“A large blade, similar to a lawnmower blade, spins the grain through the air at around 400 metres per second. Processing occurs as grain impacts with grain — effectively the grain mills itself,” he explained.

Coert said the technique will allow the processing of ‘difficult’ ingredients like brown rice, wheat bran and organic sugar as well as sticky, oily or fibrous materials which are not currently milled in conventional systems, without the problem of rancidity.

“Rancidity occurs when flour is exposed to air — and the Alligrator processing system is contained in one small sealed tower in an oxygen free, or nitrogen, processing environment”.

Cunliffe said the shelf life of no-oxygen milled product could be as long as two years.

“When a consumer opens a packet of flour processed by Z Mills in an Alligrator mill, it’s the first time that the grain’s been exposed to atmospheric conditions. Until that point there are few, if any enzymes activated”.

He saaid the process could have significant implications for organic food manufacturers and processors seeking to develop more functional processed food lines.

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