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Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-08-31

Food safety, natural foods with clean labels, process intensification and green technology combination is an attractive research idea for the European Community being in line with the 'Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing', 'Secure, clean and efficient energy' and “Biotechnology foresight identifying gaps and high-value opportunities for the EU industry” initiatives.
BREADforALL project responds to this challenge using gluten-free (GF), nutritious, raw materials and clean, efficient technology to develop food products suitable for celiac disease patients, which moreover, represent both a social necessity and market opportunity.
Celiac disease is one of the most common human genetic disorders nowadays with an increasing prevalence of 1-2%. The main problem is the lack of high quality food, free of proteins triggering allergy and the target group of GF products is currently expanding to adhere e.g. people looking for non-allergenic ingredients.
The technological solutions adopted so far are mainly focused on hydrocolloids usage, substances that often result in crumb problems and significantly raise the prices. BREADforALL focuses on alteration of existing structures of protein and starch network for modulating the functionality of GF raw materials. Project aims 1) to investigate the impact of thermal treatment (green technology) assisted with microwave radiation (effective systems for energy saving) on structural, functional and physicochemical properties of GF flours (teff and buckwheat) and 2) to study the feasibility of treated flours to improve technological functionality of GF breadmaking matrices and physical and nutritional quality of bakery.
Overall objective OO: Improving the physicochemical and nutritional and sensory characteristic of gluten-free bakery. To complete the overall objective we performed a very complex research plan detailed below. To fully disseminate the innovative approach we present the fundamentals of the project on International Conference as session opening lecture (FOODINNOVA 2017), as well as gluten-free product presentation during Night of Researchers in Science Museum of Valladolid, Spain.
Objective 1: To find and established the relationship between the microwave-assisted process of heat-moisture treatment (µHMT) of gluten-free flours we evaluated the microwave working environment firstly using model systems based on blends made from starches and proteins of different origin. µHMT process proved to be efficient in the modulation of hydration properties and enhanced water absorption index and swelling power in potato samples, while decreased them in rice starch samples, regardless of the type of protein added (scientific article in JCR journal has been published).
Objective 2: Detailed evaluation of set μHMT conditions on chosen gluten-free cereal and pseudocereal flours in order to understand and measure the nature and scope of induced changes. We have chosen rice flour as model gluten-free (GF) flour, teff flour of Ethiopian and Spanish origin, buckwheat flour of Polish and Spanish origin, as well as three different cultivars of oat – two from Spain and one from Finland. The set μHMT conditions were first applied to model flour revealing substantial molecular and physicochemical changes, which were evaluated with advanced analytical techniques (scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry, viscometric profile analysis) and scientific article in JCR journal has been published.
Objective 3: In-depth evaluation of doughs and batters originating from treated flours and assessing μHMT impact on e.g. technological behavior, thermal and rheological properties, what provided structural and mutually dependent data matrix systemizing achieved results was performed. The fundamental rheology methods (oscillatory and creep recovery tests) were applied to study the viscoelastic behavior of GF doughs/batters. The μHMT changed both rheological moduli G’ and G’’ rising the consistency of obtained dough. The results obtained for rice flour have been presented in the patent application.
Objective 4: Evaluation of final products baking physicochemical characteristic investigating relationships between the physicochemical characteristic of μHMT resulting flours, doughs/batters and finally the bakery. The bread making characteristic was evaluated in terms of the physical characteristic (specific volume, crumb and crust color, texture and staling). The results provided different characteristics for each raw material used proving high dependence of bread-making quality of raw material from synergistic acting of all flour's components.
Objective 5: Nutritional and sensory assessment of manufactured bakery measuring the nutrient characteristic of achieved products. The nutrient characteristic of achieved products has been evaluated measuring starch fractions distribution, protein fraction changes, and antioxidant activity characteristics. The sensory acceptance revealed the overall acceptance of investigated products. The results were presented at International conferences (EFFoST 2017, 2018) and Researchers Nights (Valladolid, Spain - 2017, 2018).
Objective 6: Summarizing and evaluation of future perspective concerning μHMT and originating results and its technological and social perspectives. The summary of technological aspects and social benefits led to a patent application presentation. We proved the utility of the proposed method to improve the textural and sensory characteristic of typical gluten-free products.
The results of the project added strong evidence to the proposed hypothesis regarding the effect of μHMT on techno-functional properties of GF flours.
Gluten-free diet seems to be easy to implement but there are many aspects concerning the absence of gluten raw materials in the diet, the importance of which was discovered shortly after starting the first gluten-free diets assessment. The lack of cereal grains in a diet may lead to an insufficient supply of vitamins of group B - essential for proper functioning of the nervous system, hematopoietic and skin functioning processes. The other problem is the technological commonness - the majority of production processes (recipes, procedures, technologies, equipment) fits the characteristic of dough containing gluten. The existing diversity of products manufactured with wheat gluten or/and wheat fractions which causes a severe problem in finding real gluten-free products as so different food products can be inadmissible (confectionery, puddings, jellies even meat).
The results of the project will facilitate the effective incorporation of various gluten-free flours in the daily diet. Easier handling of modified GF flours facilitates also the technological processing of such flours which can encourage more manufacturers to use such flours in typical production. Nutrition richness of various gluten-free flours can successfully contribute to the better nutrition of celiac patients. The interesting results obtained from BREADforALL project have therefore the great socio-economic impact and surely will stimulate further progress in the field of clean label gluten-free products.