Bakery ingredients specialist Puratos has struck a deal with Belgian functional ingredients firm Fugeia to develop bakery products using prebiotic fibres derived from wheat and rye.
One such is an arabinoxylan oligosaccharide, which is derived from wheat bran fibre. This has significant advantages over the two major prebiotic ingredients currently on the market: inulin and GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides), claims Fugeia chief executive Willem Broekaert.
Unlike inulin, the wheat fibre is stable at low pH and metabolised mainly in the distal colon, part of the gut that is vulnerable to disease and not addressed by other prebiotic fibres, he says.
"The poor acid stability of inulin is a serious limitation for applications like soft drinks, fruit juices, fruit spreads, breads."
Fugeia's wheat fibre also has antioxidant activity [unlike GOS], and is a better generator of [the beneficial short chain fatty acid] butyric acid in the gut, he claims.
As part of the agreement between the two firms, bread with activated cereal fibre is currently being tested in clinical trials on human volunteers.
Prebiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. However, they are also claimed to improve mineral absorption, assist in appetite regulation, strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Puratos 00 32 2 481 44 44