« Method for Higher Purity in Wheat Flour Developed »-Science Daily


« A new test helps millers assure wheat flour purity. The test introduces sophisticated molecular methods that focus on high, endosperm purity in flour extracted from wheat kernels. »

« Kansas State University researchers have developed a new testing method to help millers assure wheat flour purity that will meet baking industry standards and consumers’ expectations. »

The test introduces sophisticated molecular methods that focus on high, endosperm purity in flour extracted from wheat kernels.

« We are helping the miller by measuring the endosperm purity for flour streams coming from each stage of the milling process, » said Mark Boatwright, a Kansas State University doctoral candidate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Runnels, Iowa. « This will allow the miller to optimize settings on equipment and make decisions to meet the baker’s specifications for quality flour. »

When completed, the work being done at the university will allow the miller to exclude inferior flour streams from the final product.

« If a miller hasn’t met the baker’s specifications, the effort is wasted, » said David Wetzel, professor of grain science and industry. « We are enabling the miller to meet purity specifications by giving him a selective analytical test. »(…)


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M. D. Boatwright, E. S. Posner, R. Lopes, D. L. Wetzel. Profiling Endosperm Purity of Commercial Mill Streams Preceded by Debranning Using Quantitative Chemical Imaging1,2. Cereal Foods World, 2015; 60 (5): 211 DOI: 10.1094/CFW-60-5-0211

« Vibrational spectroscopic data obtained simultaneously in a rectangular detector array facilitates chemical analysis of the heterogeneous mixture of solids that constitutes wheat flour. Analyses of 81,920 near infrared spectra followed by partial least squares data treatment enables determination of purity with respect to endosperm versus nonendosperm content for each individual pixel in the image. Heterogeneity is revealed by the resulting image, and a mathematical weighted summation provides the composite composition for the field of view. The advantages of the solid-state technology employed in this method include the high sensitivity of individual indium antimonide detector elements and the programmed electronic wavelength switching of the liquid crystal tunable filter, which operates with no moving parts. The organic chemical content of endosperm (primarily starch and protein) is compared to nonendosperm components (cell walls, aleurone, pericarp, etc.) using the vibrational spectroscopic response of different molecules within the solid mixture. This objective quantitative chemical imaging method was applied to determine the endosperm purity profile of 29 flour streams from a commercial flour mill in which the break system is preceded by a debranning operation. A cumulative flour endosperm purity plot reveals distinct changes in purity as successively less pure streams are incorporated to increase the yield. The sensitivity and chemical structure basis of the endosperm purity method described should be useful in assessing the effects of new equipment installation or significant changes in operational settings on the efficiency of a commercial milling process. »