Two projects are being undertaken in conjunction with the University of Adelaide, in South Australia, on improving either the quality of wheat for making pasta products or in enhancing the health benefits of durum wheat.
The work is being done at ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell, with support and collaboration with the Universities of Bari and Molise in Italy.
Durum wheat is Australia’s premium hard wheat and is commonly used to make pasta in this country. With Australia’s consumption of pasta only reaching about four kilograms per person per year, it is hoped that by improving it’s health benefits, this consumption will increase.
In the first project, the researchers are studying the levels of fibre and starch in durum wheat with the aim of determining a method to increase the fibre content.
The second project is also looking at dietary fibre but from the perspective of improving the quality of the dough made from the durum wheat.
The pasta produced from these projects is already picking up the name “Super Spaghetti”.
Program Leader with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, Associate Professor Rachel Burton, said “In simple terms, ‘super spaghetti’ means that it contains a range of potential health benefits for the consumer, such as reducing the risk of heart disease or colorectal cancer. Our research – in collaboration with our Italian colleagues – is aimed at achieving that, but we’re also looking to improve the quality of pasta as well as its health properties.”