Industrialisation of food supply has led to a greater reliance on food processing, with profound consequences for human health and animal production. Beneficial food components, such as fibre have been reduced, with healthy complex carbohydrates replaced with processed simple sugars.
This has changed the nature and digestibility of carbohydrates in the diet, and their balance with respect to the other two macronutrients: proteins and fats.
Fibre, made up of carbohydrate matrices (cells walls and digestion-resistant starches), plays a critical role in human and other monogastric animal nutrition. It determines the chemical and physical characteristics of foods, and how food is processed internally and perceived by the senses.
We need to modify the fibre of plant foods to improve nutritional and environmental outcomes, thereby optimising our food and agricultural industries in a resource-constrained world.
To develop an integrated ‘systems based’ research program to unravel the best quality and functionality aspects of plant carbohydrates (fibre) and enable us to design and manufacture foods for optimal digestion and nutritional value.
Our research initiatives
- Enhancing and diversifying the nutritional content and quality of our major staple crops to lower the impeding ‘calorie gap’.
- Seeds – Human Nutrition: By developing “fit-for-purpose seeds” we can generate connectivity between the traditionally disparate fields of agriculture, food processing and nutrition/health. This approach maximises opportunities for socioeconomic impact at both ends of the agri-food supply chain by simultaneously addressing improved nutritional outcomes and premium quality seeds for Australian agriculture.
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