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Development and marketing of perennial grains with benefits for human health and nutrition

Abstract : “The Breeder’s Dilemma - The Conflict Between Yield and Nutrition” addresses the challenge of breeding for highly nutritious grains when yield is the predominant selection criterion (Morris and Sands, 2006). Perennial grasses, in particular those that have already been used as food sources by indigenous peoples, offer an opportunity to develop sustainable and nutritious grain crops from genetic resources that have not been subjected to rigorous selection for yield. To date, our team has developed and commercialized two perennial grass crops and evaluated their nutrition profiles. Indian Rice Grass (IRG, Achnatherum hymenoides) was used by indigenous people in the western United States. Grain from this perennial grass was consumed as a staple as early as 7 000 years ago, long before maize was cultivated. The grains are smaller, and much higher in protein and essential amino acid content compared to wheat. These seeds shatter and have a vernalization trait that suggests that they have not been domesticated in the modern agronomic sense. The grain can be ground into dark and flavourful, gluten-free flour that was marketed as Montina™. Another perennial grass product that has made it to market is Timtana™ flour, derived from Timothy grass seed (Phleum pratense). It is also high in protein, gluten-free and flavourful when used in baking. Both of these grains have a higher level of essential amino acids in their protein. With much of the world covered by perennial grains prior to agricultural development, there should be many more crops to develop as “new” emerging crops. A promising search strategy might be to focus on sites where baking ovens or ancient villages were once located. Collection of seeds of perennial plants from such locations may be particularly rewarding. Selection criteria might include several nutritional traits including high protein value, low glycaemic index, low phytic acid content, high omega-3 levels and absence of amylase-trypsin inhibitors.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 3:01:47 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 5:04:56 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-02749253, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 264693

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David C. Sands, Alice L. Pilgeram, Cindy E. Morris. Development and marketing of perennial grains with benefits for human health and nutrition. Perennial Crops for Food Security, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). ITA., Aug 2013, Rome, Italy. 409 p. ⟨hal-02749253⟩

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