Stabilized wheat bran could hold ingredient potential, NutraCea

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wheat

NutraCea has filed for provisional patent protection for its
technology to stabilize wheat bran, which the company says can make
it a commercially viable ingredient for use in foods.

Filed with the US Patent and Trade Mark Office, the patent could provide a new avenue of growth for NutraCea, which has so far focused on its stabilized rice bran activities. The company said the process to stabilize wheat bran is a modification and an extension of its existing rice bran technology. The provisional patent is also applicable to other cereal brans and oilseeds, it said yesterday. Like many cereal brans, wheat bran has a relatively short shelf life, meaning its usefulness as a human food is limited. NutraCea said its newly filed provisional patent for wheat bran extends the shelf life while maintaining the nutritional value making it a commercially viable ingredient for any wheat-based food product. Leo Gingras, chief operating officer of NutraCea stated: "We believe that stabilized wheat bran, using our proprietary process, will offer flavor, shelf life and nutritional characteristics that will be functionally and economically attractive for blending with wheat flour. "This enhanced, blended wheat flour could be used in many products where wheat is the major ingredient such as bread, crackers, cereals, pancakes and pastas."​The company said it expects the stabilization of wheat bran presents an opportunity for long term growth, and is a logical extension of NutraCea's expanding stabilized rice bran business. The current price of wheat flour is approaching $600 per ton for standard baking flour, and as much as $1,000 per ton for higher value semolina flour. Currently, 30 million tons of wheat is milled in the United States, creating 7.5 million tons of bran as a by-product. At a time of declining wheat supplies and increasing prices, and 500 million tons of wheat milled on an annual basis around the world, Gringas also expects the new technology to present "a significant opportunity"​ outside of the US. "The global potential positive economic impact to the wheat industry could be very significant. For example, every one percent of wheat bran that is blended back into wheat flour adds over $2bn in annual incremental revenue to the industry worldwide,"​ Gingras said.

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