New Ingredient Improves Foods Fat Profile

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemists developed butter-like extract, derived from rice bran oil, as a partial replacement for margarine, butter or shortening, according to new research published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.

PEORIA, Ill.—U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemists developed butter-like extract, derived from rice bran oil, as a partial replacement for margarine, butter or shortening, according to new research published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. Unlike some shortening and margarines, the extract is free of trans fats, which contribute to increased risk of heart disease.

USDA chemist Erica L. Bakota and her colleagues with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) developed a process for making the extract, which consists primarily of unrefined rice bran oil and rice bran's natural wax, used in confections. It also contains minor amounts of vitamin E; plant sterols, including some that are of interest to medical and nutrition researchers because of their potentially health-imparting properties; and gamma-oryzanol, shown to lower levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol in humans. Another plus: the product is shelf stable and resists oxidation that could otherwise result in off-flavors and unpleasant odors.

In preliminary experiments at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Bakota and her colleagues used the extract in place of some of the butter called for in standard recipes for granola and white bread. Feedback from taste testers who participated in these preliminary experiments indicated that the substitutions did not detract from the taste or texture of either the granola or the bread.

The team's extraction procedure differs from other approaches for making a butter-like product from rice bran oil in that it uses very low temperatures.

Fats and oils ingredients are expected to perform in a variety of applications, while delivering healthy attributes and maintaining stability from oxidation. And while fat hasn't always had the best reputation—whether it was contributing to obesity, increasing the risk for heart disease or adding to an already-overflowing caloric balance—the latest science proves that some fats, far from deserving elimination, actually merit greater representation in our diets.

In the Food Product Design FoodTech Toolbox, the Report Future Fats: Bringing on Health and Functionality taps into new sources and technologies that have resulted in a range of healthier fats and oils. This new technology delves into genetic modification of oilseeds, brand new oil sources and molecular manipulation through interesterification and can provide the right answers for many formulations.

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