WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013 — The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports a new process for blowing up grains of rice to produce a super-nutritious form of puffed rice, with three times more protein and a rich endowment of other nutrients. That makes it ideal for breakfast cereals, snack foods and nutrient bars for school lunch programs.
Based on a report by Syed S.H. Rizvi, Ph.D., and colleagues in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the new podcast is available without charge at iTunes and from www.acs.org/globalchallenges.
Commercial puffed rice is made by steam extrusion. An extruder squeezes rice flour mixed with water through a narrow opening at high temperature and pressure. On exiting the nozzle, the rice puffs up as steam expands and escapes. The process, however, can destroy heat-sensitive nutrients.
In the new episode, Rizvi explains that he looked for a way to avoid that loss and enrich rice with protein and other nutrients during the puffing process. The scientists turned to a process that uses supercritical carbon dioxide, which has been used for making decaffeinated coffee and in other applications.
The scientists describe using the process to make puffed rice with three times more protein and eight times more dietary fiber than commercial puffed rice. It also contains calcium, iron, zinc and other nutrients that conventional puffed rice lacks. Their puffed rice was crispier than commercial products, giving it a better taste and crunch.
The new rice is “ideally suited for consumption as breakfast cereals, snack food and as part of nutrition bars for school lunch programs,” the report states. “The balanced nutritional profile and use of staple crop byproducts such as broken rice makes these expanded crisps unique to the marketplace.”
Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions is a series of podcasts describing some of the 21st century’s most daunting problems, and how cutting-edge research in chemistry matters in the quest for solutions. Global Challenges is the centerpiece in an alliance on sustainability between ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Global Challenges is a sweeping panorama of global challenges that includes dilemmas such as providing a hungry and thirsty world with ample supplies of safe food and clean water, developing alternatives to petroleum to fuel society, preserving the environment and ensuring a sustainable future for our children and improving human health.
For more entertaining, informative science videos and podcasts from the ACS Office of Public Affairs, view Prized Science, Spellbound, Science Elements and Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.