Physicochemical and Functional Properties of Wheat (Triticum aestivum) and Selected Local Flours in the Philippines
Juma Novie A. Alviola* and Viena G. Monterde
Department of Food Science and Chemistry, College of Science and Mathematics,
University of the Philippines Mindanao, Mintal, Tugbok District, 8022 Davao City
Exploring locally available wheat alternatives will be advantageous to the domestic flour and baking industry and to the Filipino farmers. This will also offer value-added products to the growing gluten-free market. The physicochemical and functional properties of different flours (non-glutinous and glutinous rice, sweet potato, mung bean, banana, and sago) were determined and compared with all-purpose wheat flour. The bread quality parameters of these flours were correlated with flour properties. The commercially available flours (wheat, rice, sweet potato) were significantly whiter than the mung bean, banana, and sago flours. In terms of proximate composition, mung bean flour had the highest protein (22.57%), fiber (2.19%), and ash (4.72%) contents among the flours. Sweet potato flour, on the other hand, had the highest total carbohydrates (85.22%), starch (81.50%), and amylose (26.30%) contents. It was the most viscous but was unstable upon heating (i.e., highest peak and breakdown viscosities). Banana flour had the highest water absorption capacity and the second highest swelling power at 85°C next to sago flour. The absence of gluten in the non-wheat flours led to firmer and denser bread. Bread from inherently pigmented flours had a significantly darker crumb, but only mung bean flour produced a significantly darker crust than the control (100% wheat). Correlation analysis revealed that using flours with relatively lower fiber and amylose contents, smaller particle size, and lower breakdown viscosity – but higher water absorption capacity – lowers the chances of producing firm and dense bread.
Wheat-based products, specifically bread, play a dominant role in the Philippine diet. In 2015-2016, the country’s per capita consumption of pandesal and sliced bread was 211 pieces and 5 packs per year, respectively (PSA 2017). Moreover, though rice is still the staple food, bread is its leading substitute commodity. Wheat flour is commonly used in baked products because of its gluten proteins that provide the desired texture and structure. However, there is a need to identify and characterize wheat alternatives because of health and economic reasons. There is a rising consumer interest in wheat-free products primarily by those who suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Refined wheat products have also been associated with unwanted weight gain, diabetes, poor digestive health and cardiovascular diseases because of its high glycemic index (Asia Pacific Food Industry 2014). From an economic perspective, the Philippines’ dependence on wheat importation and the . . . . . read more
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