Fiber foods

Noodles enriched with dietary fiber by advanced technology remain tasty

Figure 1: Graphical representation of the experimental parameters (left) and attributes (right) studied in this research. Credit: National University of Singapore

NUS food scientists have demonstrated that finely ground wheat bran can be added up to 20% to Asian wheat noodles without compromising organoleptic acceptance. This can be an effective approach to promoting a higher dietary fiber intake.

Wheat bran is widely used in the food industry to produce fiber-rich food products with increased health benefits. Bran, which is the tough outer layer of the wheat grain, is an excellent source of fiber and is rich in various nutrients. However, it is usually removed during processing because its presence in food products makes them less refined in texture and its taste may not appeal to most consumers.

A research team led by Professor Zhou Weibiao from the Department of Food Science and Technology, National University of Singapore investigated the effect of bran size reduction on the microstructure and performance of bran-enriched dried white noodles. (see figures). Researchers used ultrafine grinding to produce microscale wheat bran powder and used them in the manufacture of white noodle products. The results show that ultrafine grinding does not necessarily improve all aspects of noodle processing and cooking, but promotes an overall improvement in the sensory quality of bran-enriched noodles. They also found, through sensory evaluation, that it is possible to produce bran-enriched noodles with relatively high bran levels (up to 20%) that are still deemed acceptable by consumers.

Noodles enriched with dietary fiber by advanced technology remain tasty

Figure 2: Photo showing color of starting raw ingredients and resulting noodle samples. Noodle color is an important quality trait because of the visual impact at the point of sale. Legend: RWF = Refined Wheat Flour, CB = Coarse Bran, SBA = Superfine A Bran, SBB = Superfine B Bran (ground to a finer size compared to SBA). Credit: Food and Bioprocess Technology

Ultrafine grinding is a relatively new food processing technology. There is little research on food quality and consumer sensory acceptance of superfine ground wheat bran and its end products. This study evaluated the quality of bran-enriched noodles using analytical instruments and human subjects. Wheat bran was ground into three different particle size categories: coarse bran (diameter ~330.7 μm), superfine bran A (diameter ~50.7 μm) and super fine bran B (diameter ~27.9 μm). These were then added to refined wheat flour in varying amounts (from 10% to 30%) to make the noodles. With more wheat bran added, the quality of the dried white noodles deteriorated in every way. When the amount of bran added reached 30%, the noodles exhibited a highly clogged or disturbed microstructure. Their appearance and taste were also the least appreciated by consumers. Ultrafine grinding acted as an effective approach to mitigate the negative effect of wheat bran on noodles, especially for various sensory attributes.

Jin Xiaoxuan, a Ph.D. member of the team said, “The results of the study contribute to a better understanding of the applicability of ultrafine milling in improving the functionality of wheat bran, and will guide the future development of bran-enriched products for boost the consumer’s dietary fiber intake.

Noodles enriched with dietary fiber by advanced technology remain tasty

Sensory attributes of cooked dried white noodles (DWN) enriched with (a) 10%, (b) 20% and (c) 30% wheat bran. All samples were scored on a scale of 1 to 9 relative to the control (DWN without added wheat bran) which receives a score of 5. A higher score signifies stronger attribute intensity/better than the control, the sample size is 44). Caption: CB, coarse sound; SBA, its superfine A; SBB, its superfine B (ground to a finer size compared to SBA). Credit: Food and Bioprocess Technology

Professor Zhou said: “While the consensus within the scientific community is that dietary fiber intake needs to be significantly increased to combat various chronic diseases in modern society, the perceived health benefits are insufficient for consumers are sacrificing their taste for “healthier” alternatives. Innovative food technologies are needed to make healthier foods tastier and for tasty foods to become healthier. A better understanding of how healthier foods work when they cross the digestive system is fundamental to achieving this goal.

Next, the research team plans to focus on the effect of wheat bran fortification on oral processing and the glycemic index (GI) of noodles using both in vitro and in vivo approaches.

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More information:
Xiaoxuan Jin et al. Effect of coarse and superfine wheat bran on microstructure and quality attributes of dried white noodles, Food and bioprocess technology (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s11947-021-02621-2

Provided by National University of Singapore

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