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Integration of novel food ingredients from quinoa and chia in the development of more nutritious and healthy foods


ACRONYM: QuiSalhis-Food


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) and chia (Salvia hispanica), known today as “Ancient Grains”, have provided humanity with essential nutrients and energy for centuries. The grains have unique techno-functional, nutritional and health properties due to their high content in omega-3-rich oil, proteins of high biological value, high proportion of minerals, dietary fibre and bioactive compounds. The EFSA delivered its opinion in favor of the marketing of chia and inclusion in bakery products since 2009 in EU, later in 2013 its use was extended to more food and from 2014 the marketing its oil rich in omega-3 has been approved (perhaps the greatest vegetable source). Moreover, due to the high nutritional value of quinoa FAO considers this crop with great potential to contribute to global food security, and declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa”.

One way to gain greater acceptance in the Spanish or European diet is to develop convenience/processed food with the aforementioned products or their co-products. Despite the numerous beneficial properties of quinoa and chia, they have not been efficiently processed to extract individual components to date and they are available only in the form of whole or ground grain in a small number of products. Consequently, there is a need to develop a method to process the grains into individual components, which are of food grade and can easily be used as nutritional supplements and functional ingredients in a variety of food products. Therefore, ancient grains present an interesting alternative in Food Science and Technology that has hardly been explored.

The present project is based on these premises, and whose main objective is to integrate quinoa and chia in the diet. This will be done through their comprehensive use in innovative products that are healthy, safe, tasty, sustainable and socially acceptable. To achieve the main objective, a number of specific objectives are established, which broadly include the development and optimization of methods for processing the grains to obtain individual components, nutritional characterization of these as well as its antioxidant, healthy, techno-functional and technological feasibility for their incorporation into meat and cereals.

Furthermore, studies on in vitro and in vivo biological activity (bioaccessibility and bioavailbility of minerals and polyphenols, antioxidant capacity, glycaemic index and its potentially beneficial immunonutritional effects within the gut liver axis) will be addressed in the new developed foods to assess the applicability of chia and quinoa ingredients in the developing of new products more nutritious and healthy.


Project Coordinator

Dra. Claudia. Monika Haros