Feeling Snacky? Try Legumes
From crisp bits to tubular puffs, WSU researchers in collaboration with Agricultural Research Service scientists have developed crunchy, great-tasting snacks made with legumes. The tasty edibles, made from garbanzos, lentils, dry peas and beans are also good for you.
WSU’s biological systems engineering scientist Juming Tang and food scientist Barry Swanson, in collaboration with ARS researcher Jose De J. Berrios of ARS’ Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., are seeking a patent for the technology that led to the low-sodium, low-fat, cholesterol-free foods. The snacks are also rich in protein and dietary fiber.
Some of the pre-market products have already been taste-tested by about 500 volunteers—most of whom gave the foods an enthusiastic “thumb’s up.” One snack made of crisp, fully-cooked garbanzos is ready to eat out-of-hand or could be tossed with a salad of leafy greens, sprinkled on a bowl of hearty soup, or added to traditional party mixes.
The scientists used a standard piece of food processing equipment, a twin-screw extruder, to make the snacks. Extruders are energy-efficient, fast and versatile, combining—into just one machine—several steps including mixing, cooking, shaping and other processes needed to convert legume flours into appealing snacks.
The USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, based in Moscow, Idaho, helped fund the research. Currently, ARS—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency—is looking for industry partners to commercialize the nutritious snacks.
For more information, please visit: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2007/071114.htm.
Washington Peanuts May Have Biofuel Potential
Peanuts, traditionally a southern crop, have found a new calling in the sagebrush-covered soil of eastern Washington. On a WSU test plot in Pasco, recent harvests have produced peanuts in yields equal to or surpassing the national average.
Tim Waters, area extension educator for Franklin and Benton counties, reports early October peanut yields of 1,922 to 4,096 pounds per acre. The national average is about 3,200 pounds per acre. According to the American Peanut Council, peanuts are about a $400 million annual crop — 40 percent of which is produced in Georgia.
Now in his second year of testing peanut varieties, Waters was first inspired by Basin City area farmer Steve Price, who planted 25 acres of peanuts in 2006 “just to see if he could grow them.” Price came up with surprising yields of 5,000 pounds per acre. He and Waters have since collaborated to fine tune growing regimens and purchase harvesting equipment.
“If there is a market for peanuts here, I have no doubt we can grow them,” Waters said.
Mariner baseball games aside, peanuts — with their 50 percent oil content — are of keen commercial interest for biofuel production. The tasty legume joins the growing list of traditional and nontraditional crops under scrutiny by researchers and farmers seeking alternative fuel sources.
Adapted from an article by Beck Phillips, WSU Today. To read the complete article, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/2ekrg6
Kahn Named Associate Director of Agricultural Research Center
Michael Kahn, who holds a joint appointment as a professor in the Institute of Biological Chemistry and the School of Molecular Biosciences, has been named associate director of Washington State University’s Agricultural Research Center. He will begin duties on Jan. 1.
He will partner with the director of the ARC to administer, lead, and report on research programs in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences and Agricultural Research Center activities of other affiliated colleges. Kahn, who has been with WSU for 28 years, has served as associate director of WSU’s Institute of Biological Chemistry since 1996. The Santa Fe, N.M., native earned a doctorate in biophysics from Stanford University and his bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology.
The Agricultural Research Center was created in 1891 as the Washington State Agricultural Experiment Station. It was formed under the provisions of the Hatch Act of 1887 to diffuse practical agricultural knowledge among the public through the state colleges. In Fiscal Year 2005-06, the center administered more than 300 research projects underwritten by $58.8 million in grants and appropriated funding.
For more information about the Agricultural Research Center, please visit: http://arc.wsu.edu/.