A new type of wheat which has been specifically bred to offer increased health benefits to humans with 10 times more fibre than standard wheat is on track to enter the Australian food market.

New partnership breeds healthy wheat for Australia

The high-fibre wheat was developed through 20 years of effort by Arista Cereal Technologies, a joint venture between the CSIRO and French farmer-led cooperative Limagrain.

Testing and development of the wheat has been conducted in Australia for a number of years and a long-term exclusive breeding partnership was finalised between Australian Grain Technologies (AGT) and Arista last month.

Arista high-fibre wheat has been developed using conventional breeding methods. AGT is applying its industry leading breeding capabilities to produce locally adapted Australian varieties.

AGT’s Head of Science and Business Development Tristan Coram said the company was excited to be partering with Arista to develop wheat varieties specifically targeted at human health.

“This technology was discovered in Australia and we are very eager to translate this into value for Australian growers, grain processors and consumers, he said.

Tristan Coram with some high-fibre wheat in AGT's glasshouse at Roseworthy, SA.

Research to date illustrates the capacity for developing healthier staple food products with the potential to remediate chronic disease risks.

The new high-fibre wheat can be used in many applications, with the first consumer products including pizza crusts, tortillas and noodles being recently launched in the USA.

The elevated fibre content is due to a high level of Resistant Starch, a fermentable fibre that is resistant to digestion in the small intestine.

This fibre moves onto the large intestine and bowel, where it contributes to gut health.

Products containing this wheat may obtain official high fibre claims as well as claims regarding beneficial impacts on glycemic response.

Arista CEO Eric Vaschalde said decades of research had gone into the development of high-fibre wheat.

“We are thrilled to partner with AGT to breed and launch the first high-fibre wheat varieties in Australia,” he said.

“With the strength of AGT and their know-how, this innovation will soon be grown in different areas and will contribute to the nation’s health on a daily basis.”

The first high-fibre wheat varieties are currently being grown under contract and the first sales of grain for food applications will start in 2021.