[ASC-media] CSIRO: Big boost for high fibre grains research

Rebecca.Eveleigh at csiro.au Rebecca.Eveleigh at csiro.au
Wed Jul 25 01:55:21 CEST 2007

25 July 2007
Ref 07/132

Big boost for high fibre grains research

A $12.7 million research alliance that plans to develop new grain varieties with tailored fibre content will be launched today at CSIRO's Discovery Centre in Canberra.

The High Fibre Grains Research Cluster will combine the skills and resources of The University of Queensland, The University of Adelaide, The University of Melbourne and CSIRO, through the Food Futures National Research Flagship, to develop wheats with improved health benefits and heightened value for the grains industry.

"Fibre is more than just bran," says Cluster leader Professor Mike Gidley from The University of Queensland's Centre for Nutrition and Food Science. "The fibre component of whole grains forms an important part of a healthy diet.

"Currently, wheat has less fibre than barley or oats. The Cluster is aiming to change that by developing wheats with higher levels of health-promoting fibre.

"Dietary fibre contains a range of plant compounds and cellular structures that resist digestion and have the potential to lower plasma cholesterol and glycaemic index, as well as to promote regularity and improve bowel health.

"Fibre can also ferment in the bowel to produce compounds that may help us resist cancers and chronic diseases. Improving the fibre qualities of grains could have major benefits for consumers at the population level," Professor Gidley says.

The Cluster will focus on the biggest source of fibre in grains - non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) of the plant cell wall. 

"NSP are the building blocks that make up the structural elements of plant cell walls," says the Director of the Food Futures Flagship, Dr Bruce Lee.

"The Cluster will focus on understanding the functions of NSP, what controls their synthesis and improving our ability to manipulate their levels and composition in grains.

"The knowledge gained will have direct applications in grains and across a wide range of consumer food products. These could include breakfast cereals, bakery products, health bars, pasta and ready to eat meals," Dr Lee says.

The Cluster will invest more than $12.7 million in the collaboration over three years, with the university partners receiving more than $3.6 million directly from the Flagship Collaboration Fund. The Fund enables the skills of the wider Australian research community to be applied to the major national challenges targeted by CSIRO's Flagship initiative.

The media are invited to attend the launch: 10.30am, CSIRO Discovery, Clunies Ross St, Canberra.

Further Information:

Dr Bruce Lee, Director, CSIRO Food Futures Flagship
Prof Mike Gidley, University of Queensland
Prof Geoff Fincher, Director, Waite Campus, The 
University of Adelaide
Prof Tony Bacic, Director, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, The University of Melbourne
61 2 9490 8490, 0407 358 639 ; Bruce.Lee at csiro.au
61 7 3365 2145, M.Gidley at uq.edu.au
61 8 8303 7296,  0419 821 100,
Geoff.Fincher at acpfg.com.au
61 3 8344 5041,  0409 855 852, abacic at unimelb.edu.au
Media Assistance:

Sylvia Bell, CSIRO Food Futures Flagship

More information at:  www.csiro.au/HiFiCluster
02 9490 8006, 0437 896 522; Sylvia.Bell at csiro.au

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Beck Eveleigh
Media Assistant
CSIRO Media Liaison
6276 6451
0409 395 010

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