Wheat, flour, food storage


There is interest in the long-term storage of food for applications such as space flight, military rations, and disaster relief. Long-term storage of wheat flour under modified atmospheres has not been extensively studied. The objective of this research was to examine the effects of long-term storage on wheat flour packaged in a low oxygen atmosphere. Ten samples of wheat flour packaged in No. 10 cans were obtained from donors. Samples ranged in age from 0.5-11 years and were stored at ambient temperatures (13-27º C). Oxygen levels were below 1%, and moisture contents were between 12.0% and 14.3%. Color was assessed using a HunterLab colorimeter. Free fatty acids were quantified using a copper-soap assay with oleic acid as the standard. Headspace hexanal was measured using GC-FID. A 50-member sensory panel evaluated flour for odor and appearance, and bread for aroma, appearance, texture, flavor, and overall acceptance, using a 9-point hedonic scale. Panelists also indicated whether they would use the product in everyday and emergency situations. Sensory results indicated that age was not correlated with any of the sensory parameters for both flour and bread; flour maintained >90% acceptance, and bread maintained >88% acceptance, for use in emergency situations. L* values ranged from 92.21-93.40, and were correlated with mean hedonic scores for flour appearance and everyday acceptance. Free fatty acids ranged from 6.16-22.1 umol/g flour, and hexanal ranged from 0.030-0.21 ug/g flour. Free fatty acids were correlated with flour age. Consumers disliked browning of flour, but the browning was not perceived after making the flour into bread. Free fatty acids were the best predictors of flour age. Acceptance data indicated that storing wheat flour in a reduced oxygen environment was a viable option for long-term storage.

Original Publication Citation

Dickey, N.M. Rose, D.J. Ogden, L.V. Pike, O.A. Effects of long-term storage on wheat flour packaged in a low oxygen atmosphere. Poster presentation. Annual Meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists.

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Life Sciences


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science