Value-Added Processing of Idaho Starch-Based Agricultural Commodities (ii)
Major agricultural commodities, such as wheat and potatoes, are at the foundation of Idaho's agricultural base, and are of vital economic significance to the state. Though agricultural commodities contribute significantly to the state economic wellbeing, it has become apparent that it is not sufficient to focus solely on production aspects alone. The ability to increase the value of raw agricultural commodities represents a key component for continued economic growth and development. In fact, value-added processing of agricultural commodities by the food industry accounts for approximately half of realized profits across the entire food distribution system. Thus, a greater proportion of the total market revenue is retained within the state by processing raw agricultural commodities into value-added products. The long-term sustainability of
production agriculture and, to a significant degree, the state economy are linked to maximizing profitability from the state's agricultural commodities through value-addition to enhance competitiveness in both domestic and global markets. The proposed work will contribute both fundamental and applied research needed to support production of value-added products from wheat and potato commodities. For potatoes, research efforts will focus on technology that fosters development of potato-based products that could potentially lower incidence of chronic disease (i.e., type II diabetes, heart disease, etc.) and promote digestive health. In regard to wheat, the proposed research seeks to elucidate key factors necessary for creation of modified wheat starch products (i.e., functional biopolymers) with enhanced and/or novel functionalities for use in food and industrial applications. This
approach is intended to provide new opportunities for wheat and potato products, and if successful, could allow US growers and processing industries to continue to expand and diversify into market areas that are presently inaccessible.