NutraCea files patent for wheat bran technology

by Eric Schroeder
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PHOENIX — NutraCea, a leader in stabilized rice bran, nutrient research and technology, has filed for provisional patent protection with the U.S. Patent and Trade Mark Office on its technology to stabilize wheat bran. According to NutraCea, the process for wheat bran stabilization is a modification and extension of its existing technology for the stabilization of rice bran, and also is applicable to other cereal brans and oilseeds.

Calling the wheat bran patent "a logical extension" of its stabilized rice bran business, NutraCea said its technology would extend the shelf life of wheat bran while maintaining its nutritional value, making it a commercially viable ingredient for any wheat-based food product.

"Wheat bran is typically used as animal feed at a price of approximately $130 per ton, while wheat flour in today’s market is approaching $600 per ton for standard baking flour and as much as $1,000 per ton for higher value semolina flour," said Leo Gingras, chief operating officer. "We believe that stabilized wheat bran, using our proprietary process, will offer flavor, shelf life and nutritional characteristics that will be functionally and economically attractive for blending with wheat flour. This enhanced, blended wheat flour could be used in many products where wheat is the major ingredient such as bread, crackers, cereals, pancakes and pastas."

He added that the opportunity exists to take the technology beyond the United States.

"The global potential positive economic impact to the wheat industry could be very significant," he said. "For example, every 1% of wheat bran that is blended back into wheat flour adds over $2 billion in annual incremental revenue to the industry worldwide."

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