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License starch-oil composite technology.

The next key component of a variety of low-fat foods could be a cooked blend of starch, fats and water developed by USDA/ARS scientists (National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, 1815 N. University St., Peoria, IL 61604). Called Fantesk, the new mixture could find use in flavored delivery systems, for example. Scientists have incorporated the composite into cheddar cheese. Fantesk can be formulated as a gel, crystal flakes, flowable powder or liquid. It is available for licensing.

Scientists combined starches, oils, and water into a thick gel using a cooking process. They were surprised to see that the starch and oil didn't separate as the gel cooled. Freezing, thawing and even melting the gel in a microwave oven didn't separate the components. When the scientists dried the gel into a solid flaky material, the oil remained encapsulated in the starch.

The inseparable mixtures of starch and tiny droplets of oil could be a dieter's dream because foods containing Fantesk don't have to have a high-fat content to taste good. The taste and creaminess of 0.3% fat ice milk with 2% Fantesk is about the same as that of ice cream with 8% to 10% fat. Fantesk has fat-mimicking properties. Researchers have tested the technology in low-fat systems, including baked goods, meats and frozen desserts. With Fantesk, a 30% reduction in fat content may be possible in some cookie formulations, we're told.

Fantesk generally contains 20 to 40 parts vegetable oil per 100 parts starch by weight and can be dried and milled for easy handling. Commercial users could mix the flowable powder with water to make soft gels for products such as low-fat margarines. Or they could heat the mixture to produce a pourable fluid.

In addition to increasing markets for agricultural commodities, such as soybeans, Fantesk also could benefit agriculture through its use in seed coatings containing fungicides, herbicides, nutrients, growth regulators and beneficial microbes. A water suspension of Fantesk adheres to seeds' natural waxy coatings and doesn't easily flake off upon drying. Patent. 5,882,713--Non-separable compositions of starch and water-immiscible organic materials. Issued March 16, 1999. Inventors: Kenneth Eskins (deceased) and George Fanta. Assigned to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, DC. A stable and non-separable composition comprised of starch and a water-immiscible material can be prepared in the absence of external emulsifying or dispersing agents by thoroughly solubilizing an aqueous dispersion of the starch at elevated temperatures and incorporating the water-immiscible material into the non-retrograded starch under conditions of high turbulence. The resulting dispersions form soft gels that can be easily converted to pourable fluids by applying heat. Upon drying, these dispersions yield solid compositions that are easily redispersed in water to form smooth, stable dispersions. These compositions are useful as thickening agents, suspending agents, waterproof coating materials, adhesives, fat substitutes and seed coatings.

Further information. Craig Carriere; phone: 309-681-6551; fax: 309-681-6689; email:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Nov 1, 2000
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