South Australian researchers partner with Italian universities to produce ‘super spaghetti’

Researchers at the university of Adelaide are working in partnership with two Italian universities to try and produce pasta that is better quality and has greater nutritional value for human health.

The two projects are being conducted by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls at the University's Waite Campus and the universities of Bari and Molise in Italy.

The aim of the ARC Centre of Excellence is to look at the fundamental role of cell walls (biomass) in plants and discover how they can be better utilized.

The study looks specifically at key aspects of the cell walls in durum wheat, the variety most commonly used for making pasta.

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 fiber within it, and how the fiber levels in pasta can be improved.

The second project, in conjunction with the University of Molise, will investigate the important roles played by two major components of dietary fiber – arabinoxylans and beta-glucans – in the quality of pasta and bread dough.

Associate professor Rachel Burton, chief investigator on both projects, released a statement saying that “"The term 'super spaghetti' is beginning to excite scientists, nutritionists and food manufacturers around the world,"

“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. 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," said Burton.

Those involved hope that their research will help pasta manufacturers in South Australia and Italy to carve a niche by supplying domestic markets with specialist pasta products that will benefit the health of consumers

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