Cigi’s (Canadian International Grains Institute) applied research work into optimizing the nutritional quality of pulse flours got a significant funding boost today with the Government of Canada committing nearly $1 million for a four-year project.
Cigi’s Advancing Pulse Flour Processing and Applications project will receive $959,918 from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). The project will also be supported by contributions from the industry, including Pulse Canada which has already committed $527,000.
The Advancing Pulse Flour Processing and Applications project will build on the knowledge gained from Cigi’s Pulse Flour Milling and Utilization Project completed last year, supported by the CAAP initiative for 2010-14, which investigated whether milling methods affected pulse flour and end-product quality. The current project will focus on the effect of milling processes on pulse flours and how to maintain or improve the flours to meet nutritional goals in commercial food products. These nutritional targets include reducing glycemic index or increasing protein content.
“The challenge of the project will be to maximize the nutritional benefits of pulse flours while maintaining functional quality of the ingredients,” says Heather Maskus, Project Manager, Cigi Pulse Flour Milling and Food Applications. “The flours will be tested in food products that are widely consumed and can benefit nutritionally by including pulses in their formulations.”
The project is significant in its support for Canada’s pulse industry which serves the needs of more than 150 markets around the globe, she says. “Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils and peas, and one of the world’s top five exporters of beans. Pulses are an excellent source of nutrition, with studies showing they contribute to heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels, are low in glycemic index, and high in fibre and protein.”