Pulse Industry

Developing pulse-based functional food ingredients and foods

Starches are the primary source of energy used by the body to function, but not all starches are created equal. Starch digestion rates vary considerably, from rapid digestible to slowly digestible to resistant, with pulse starches classified as slowly digestible or resistant as compared to cereal starches. Connections noted between starch digestion rates and chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity) are raising the interest of food researchers and the food industry in terms of producing foods that contain enough resistant starch (RS) and/or slowly digestible starch (SDS) to significantly improve human health.

This research is focused on better understanding how slowly digestible and/or resistant starch is enhanced through pulse variety selection, how processing can alter starch structure and how to characterize the microstructure and functionalities of Canadian grown pulses. Research into pulse starch structure as well as physicochemical and physiological properties will help identify novel applications of pulse and pulse starches, to ensure that pulse crops are viable alternative to other starches such as corn, potato and wheat.


Theme: Pulse Processing & Utilization
Project Title: Characterization of structure, physicochemical and physiological properties of starch from Canadian grown pulse crops to develop novel functional food ingredients and functional foods for human health benefits
Funding partners: Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada
Research Team: Dr. Qiang Liu - AAFC Guelph Food Centre; Dr. Michael Thompson – McMaster University; Dr. Ratnajothi Hoover – Memorial University; Dr. Tom Warkentin – University of Saskatchewan; Drs. Dengjin Bing, Frederic Marsolais, Dan Ramdath & Rong Cao – AAFC various locations.


Links to more information:
  • Project Abstract
  • SPG Pulse Research Magazine – Volume 1, page 25 article titled: “Putting Pulses on the Daily Menu. Research aims to get more pulse starch ingredients into commercial food products.”


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