Evaluation of physiochemical properties and applications of grain flour
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In recent years, there has been a growing demand for alternative protein sources in the US. Grains are important in the food industry and they are staple foods around the world. Grains are good energy sources and some grains have very high protein content (e.g., amaranth). There has also been high demand for fish because fish are a very good source of protein. Improving methods of fish farming and processing of grains is beneficial to meeting these high demands for protein. For this thesis, three studies were investigated. They focused cost effectiveness, sustainability, and meeting the high demand of alternative food products.
For the first study, a techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment of extruded aquafeed were evaluated by developing a model for five production rates (10ton/y, 100ton/y, 250ton/y, 500ton/y, and 1000ton/y). The study was carried out to optimize cost and environmental performance in the production of aquaculture feed for small-scale producers. The results showed that unit cost of producing extruded aquafeed decreased as the production output increased.
The second study focused on amaranth milling with three different mills (burr mill, roller mill, and nutrimill) with three corrugations (0.002 in., 0.005 in. and 0.010 in.) and three moisture levels (10%, 20%, and 24%) for the grain. The results revealed that the 10% moisture content and the fine setting for the nutrimill had the finest mean particle distribution. These findings will be relevant when incorporating amaranth flour into gluten-free food products.
Lastly, the third study focused on meeting the needs of individuals with gluten intolerance. GF bread was formulated from amaranth and rice flour with the goal of improving sensory properties, nutritive value, and reducing cost of GF bread. Bread flour was used as control, while rice and amaranth flour were used at different combination ratios. Results show that consumer panelists consistently preferred the control to other treatments for all attributes tested but a bread with 18.7% rice flour had acceptable properties.
Meeting the needs for alternative protein sources is challenging but these studies highlight that there are effective solutions which can be capitalized on by researchers in the food industry.