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Azti-Tecnalia achieves the industrial scale-up of bread containing oat beta-glucans that lower blood cholesterol

Azti-Tecnalia, the expert R&D centre for foodstuff and marine innovation, together with Artadi Alimentación, has achieved the industrial scale-up of white bread dough containing oat beta-glucans that lower blood cholesterol, thus optimising the formula for industrial processing conditions that will allow this bread to be marketed on a large scale.

All this has been done while achieving quality in terms of taste and the typical sponginess of white bread baguettes. This innovative product signifies a fresh step forwards in Azti-Tecnalia’s commitment towards developing, in collaboration with food companies in the field of health and nutrition, new cardioprotective foodstuffs geared towards the general public. The bread is being marketed by EROSKI under the Sannia brand. One of the main technological challenges has been to make the formulation with oat beta-glucans industrially viable. When oat beta-glucans are added to bread, they make the dough more viscous and more difficult to handle on an industrial scale. So the dual challenge has therefore meant overcoming these process constraints to make its industrial production more manageable and also to monitor the quality and quantity of the oat beta-glucans by taking into consideration all the industrial stages until the dose that is effective for consumers has been achieved. Azti-Tecnalia has succeeded in overcoming the challenges posed by incorporating beta-glucans into the manufacture of bakery dough on an industrial scale, while maintaining their quality and quantity following the key stages in the process: the kneading, rolling, freezing, precooking and baking of the bread dough. “The innovation in specifying the production processes has been a key factor in the development of this bread at Artadi Alimentación for EROSKI's Sannia line. This new development has enabled us to create an attractive bread from the taste point of view, with a very spongy soft inside and which maintains its healthgiving properties," pointed out Josune Ayo, an expert in nutrition and food technologies at Azti-Tecnalia. In addition to its cardioprotective effect, oat fibre has been selected while bearing in mind also the quality of white bread in terms of taste in the classical baguette format, since fibres of this type tend to influence the properties of bakery dough with respect to texture, colour and taste. To overcome this difficulty, Azti-Tecnalia experts analysed beta-glucans of various origins and commercial references until they came across the fibre most suited to being added to bread. The selection of suppliers in sensory terms of the product has also meant that the selected oat fibre does not incorporate the taste of oats nor alters the colour, thus achieving bread with a texture, colour and taste similar to that of a baguette of white bread. This fibre has a considerable quantity of high-quality oat beta-glucans which maintain the native form of oat beta-glucans (low molecular weight). “What distinguishes the oat beta-glucan we use is the fact that it lowers blood cholesterol, unlike other oat beta-glucans that maintain it but do not lower it," said Josune Auy. To achieve the beneficial effect on the lowering of cholesterol it is necessary to consume three grams of beta-glucan from oats every day divided into three doses. The plan formulated by Azti-Tecnalia and scaled-up is being marketed in the format of 70-gram rolls each containing a gram of oat beta-glucan. Encouraging the elimination of bile salts According to the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the numerous studies into nutritional intervention carried out using oat beta-glucans used in bread demonstrate its "reducing” effect on blood cholesterol levels. One of the mechanisms of its action is due to the fact that it forms a viscous layer on the walls of the intestine which encourages the elimination of bile salts. As a result, the body uses the cholesterol circulating in the blood to synthesise the salts again and that way the cholesterol content in the arteries is reduced. What is more, it actively lowers low-density lipoproteins (LDL-cholesterol) thus facilitating the removal of blood cholesterol; that way it reduces total blood cholesterol even further.