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Research

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Research Call

DAFM Reference

Lead(Collaborating)Institution

DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11SF317 Teagasc €732,354

Project Title:

Exploitation of the nutritive properties of safe Irish-grown milled oat and barley varieties as functional ingredients in new healthy food formulations

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Eimear Gallagher

Project Abstract

The agri-food sector is a key part of Ireland’s economy, and agricultural research is vital to keep our industry competitive. Ireland is excellently placed as a cropproducing nation, with our cereal yields being amongst the highest in the world. This project will focus on harvesting, milling and utilisation of Irish-grown varieties of oat and barley as novel functional ingredients. These cereal crops are now known to contain significant levels of soluble fibre (beta glucan), phenolics and essential amino acids. However, their use in Ireland is predominantly limited to livestock feed and minor food applications (such as bulking agents or a limited supply of oat-based baked products such as flapjacks). The project team, which fosters new relationships between crop breeders, crop specialists, cereal scientists, natural product chemists and microbiologists, will initially focus on quantifying and isolating bioactive components from Irish-grown oat and barley milled varieties. The technological functionality of these cereals will also be characterised. Chemistry and food formulation trials will then be undertaken, whereby the bioactive components, either in isolated form, or as a constituent in the milled cereal fractions will be used to create novel products with added health and wellness benefits. Ingredient interactions and structure-function relationships of the new formulations will also be detailed. A further aspect of the project which will be investigated is bioprotection. Fusarium headblight is a disease of oats and barley. Recently, Fusarium strains have shown a high resistance to fungicides in Ireland, thereby threatening the cultivation of these cereals. The project aims to develop antifungal lactic acid bacteria strains as effective protectants, by virtue of their demonstrable antifungal activity against cultures of Fusarium species. The effectiveness of these strains will be proven using glasshouse and possibly field trials. The overall project aims to build upon the strengths of the Irish agri-food sector. Through a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach, the project will bring together a new and diverse team of experts, who plan to exploit the high-yielding natural cereal resources which Ireland currently has, while at the same time protecting these resources for the future. Through science-based innovation, the team will develop new, innovative and healthy cereal-based ingredients and food products from Irish-grown barley and oats, targeting new market opportunities such as functional foods and beverages, and health-enhanced processed foods. This project, we believe, will significantly help play a role in the sustainable development and competitiveness of the Irish cereals sector.

Final Report:

Not available yet.