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Debranched corn starch can replace sugar as breakfast cereal coating.

Currently, many cereals are coated with sugar to keep them from becoming soggy in milk. However, this added sugar has been linked to obesity, hyperactivity and dental caries.

So, researchers have looked into alternative coating materials that could substitute for sugar. A University of Arkansas The University of Arkansas strives to be known as a "nationally competitive, student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world." The school recently completed its "Campaign for the 21st Century," in which the university raised more than $1 billion for the school, used  study employed the film-forming properties of enzyme-treated corn starch to function as a coating material on breakfast cereal flakes. The scientists found that the enzyme-treated high-amylose corn starch also increased the dietary fiber content of the cereal flakes.

The research was designed to test the efficacy of using debranched corn starches containing different amounts of amylose amylose /am·y·lose/ (am´i-los) a linear, water-soluble glucan; the soluble constituent of starch, as opposed to amylopectin.

 as a cereal coating. Common starch contains two types of molecules, a linear molecule of amylose, and a highly branched molecule of amylopectin amylopectin /am·y·lo·pec·tin/ (am?i-lo-pek´tin) a highly branched, water-insoluble glucan, the insoluble constituent of starch; the soluble constituent is amylose.

. Because of its linear structure, amylose has good film-forming properties. If scientists can create more linear molecules, they can improve film-forming properties. Debranching enzymes removes all branching points in amylopectin, which results in an all-linear molecule with improved film-forming properties.

Hylon VII[R], which contains 70% amylase amylase (ăm`əlās'), enzyme having physiological, commercial, and historical significance, also called diastase. It is found in both plants and animals. Amylase was purified (1835) from malt by Anselme Payen and Jean Persoz. , common corn starch and waxy corn starches were gelatinized and debranched. The researchers sprayed these onto ready-to-eat breakfast cereal flakes.

The investigators determined the surface morphology, milk absorption, texture and digestibility digestibility

the proportion of a feed or diet which can be digested by the normal animal of the subject species.

digestibility coefficient
see digestibility coefficient.
 of the coated cereals. Using scanning electron microscopy, they observed a film with a thickness of 50 m to 130 m on the surface of the cereals coated with Hylon VII.

All starch-coated cereals had a lower milk absorption value than the uncoated and glucose-coated controls. Among starch coatings, the common corn starch and Hylon VII caused less milk to absorb into the cereal flakes than did the waxy corn starch. Moreover, the cereals coated with Hylon VII had greater dietary fiber content. After soaking in milk for three minutes, the peak force and work-to-peak values of the cereals coated with corn starches were higher than those of the glucose control and the uncoated reference.

The results suggest that debranched amylose-containing corn starches could extend the bowl life of ready-to-eat cereals.

Further information. Ya-Jane Wang, Department of Food Science, 2650 N. Young Ave., N-214, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72704; phone: 479-575-3871;
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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