Company achieves milestones in non-GM wheat varieties

by Arvin Donley
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DAVIS, CALIFORNIA, U.S. – Shares of Arcadia Biosciences Inc., an agricultural biotech company that recently announced that it has achieved two key technology milestones in its High Fiber Resistant Starch (RS) Wheat program, extended early gains to trade up 260% March 14.

Shares have increased almost eight-fold this month.

Through advanced screening and traditional breeding techniques, the company has developed non-transgenic (non-GM) wheat varieties that contain up to 94% amylose, the highest levels available. Increased levels of amylose correspond to high levels of resistant starch, which has been proven to deliver significant health benefits. Also, these same wheat varieties deliver levels of total dietary fiber high enough to meet the threshold required by the US Food and Drug Administration for a “Good Source” of fiber or “High in Fiber” designation on consumer packaging.

Raj Ketkar president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences
Raj Ketkar, president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences

“These milestones are key achievements in the commercial launch plan for our non-GM wheat ingredients portfolio, delivering health benefits to consumers and distinct market differentiators to consumer-packaged goods companies,” said Raj Ketkar, president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences. “Arcadia’s new wheat varieties will allow people to enjoy the foods they love with the health benefits of resistant starch and dietary fiber, while satisfying consumer demand for clean-label, natural foods.”

Arcadia said it is working with a select number of consumer-packaged goods companies on new, healthier formulations of existing products using both enriched and whole wheat RS Wheat flour. The company is preparing for an increase in acres planted during the upcoming U.S. wheat growing season.

Resistant starch has many benefits compared to other types of starch, particularly in the management of gastrointestinal health and obesity-related health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. It contains higher amounts of amylose, a carbohydrate molecule that is less vulnerable to digestion. Because it is digested more slowly, resistant starch has a lower glycemic index, meaning it does not cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. Resistant starch also acts as a nondigestible prebiotic that promotes the growth of “good bacteria” (probiotics) that improve gut health.

Some of the additional reported health benefits of resistant starch include:

  • Increased absorption of calcium and other key minerals
  • Improved weight loss through increased feeling of satiety
  • Increased insulin sensitivity – helpful for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Increased production of butyrate – an anti-inflammatory which may help burn body fat and recently consumed fat.

In addition to the benefits of resistant starch, Arcadia’s RS Wheat varieties produce refined flour and whole grain flour that is naturally high in fiber. Many products marketed as “high fiber” contain fiber additives, such as inulin, cellulose and psyllium husk. Arcadia’s RS Wheat has intrinsically high levels of fiber and can enable food companies to reduce the use of added fiber sources in their formulations to simplify their ingredient labels.

Wheat flour is a major part of people’s diets on a global level. In 2015, the global wheat flour market was valued at $200 billion and is estimated to reach a value of $270 billion by 2022. On average, one quarter, or 500 calories, of Americans’ daily caloric intake comes from wheat. 
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