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Hillen Researches Using Pea Flour in Gluten Free Food Production

Cassandra Hillen is conducting research on pea flour as part of her M.S. degree in Cereal Science at North Dakota State University. Her advisor and the director of her research is Dr. Clifford Hall, who is also the director of the NDSU Pulse Quality program. Pea flour is a possible substitute for wheat flour that could provide benefits for consumers, particularly those with celiac disease.

June 29, 2016

With increasing markets for gluten-free foods, pea flour is a possible substitute for wheat flour that could provide benefits for consumers. However, pea flour has undesirable sensory characteristics in some food application. The focus of a study in the Pulse End Quality Program is to remove some of the grassy, green or earthy flavors and aromas in pea flour. This research is being conducted by Cassandra Hillen as part of her M.S. degree in Cereal Science at North Dakota State University. Her advisor and the director of her research is Dr. Clifford Hall, who is also the director of the NDSU Pulse Quality program.

Peas are a high value food containing key nutrients such as folic acid, vitamins K and A, B vitamins, calcium, zinc and manganese, protein and soluble and insoluble fiber. Pea flour does not contain gluten forming proteins, which trigger celiac disease. Pea flour can add nutritional value and improve baking properties of gluten-free foods, and can also be used as a substitute for soy ingredients, which is of interest to the food industry due to the need to label soy as an allergen on food products.

Hillen extracted pea flour samples through High Pressure Solvent Extraction (HPSE) and vacuum drying to remove undesirable flavors. She then used the treated and untreated flour samples to bake cookies and cake and conducted taste tests to determine differences between treatments. She concluded that the untreated pea flour samples tasted significantly different from those samples treated to remove flavors. She would suggest conducting further studies using other pulses and to try to conduct taste tests with consumers restricted to gluten free diets in order to determine if the taste of the end products is superior to current gluten-free products.

Hall works with a group of NDSU researchers which includes two pulse crop breeders, a geneticist, a plant pathologist and the Extension Service in the fully integrated program.

2016 is the International Year of the Pulse as declared by the 68th United Nations Assembly/Food and Agriculture Organization. For more information see www.ag.ndsu.edu/plantsciences/news/ndsu-pulse-program-highlighted-during-the-international-year-of-the-pulse.

Author: Karen Hertsgaard (701-231-5384, karen.hertsgaard@ndsu.edu)
Editors: Cassandra Hillen () and Clifford Hall (701-231-6359, )

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