Grains Research and Development

Date: 30.06.2014

Australian-grown grains and legumes nutrition profile

Author: Georgie Aley - Managing director, Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council
Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council logo

The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) is leading the development of a national database to provide a nutritional profile of grains and legumes grown in Australia. This new database, which is the first of its kind in Australia, is expected to replace existing information covering the nutritional content of grains and legumes, which draws on a mixture of data from Australia, Europe and North America. 

The first step in developing the database involved analysing the nutrient content of a single sample of different (intact and minimally processed) grains and legumes. The samples were harvested in 2012 and 2013 as part of a GLNC pilot study completed in early 2014. 

This Australian data was then compared with data in the US national database to help determine whether there was a difference in the nutrient content of grains and legumes grown in Australia compared with those grown overseas.

Photo of assorted grains and legumes

A new national database aims to provide information about the nutritional content of grains and legumes grown in Australia.

Findings from the pilot study highlighted a range of differences between the nutritional content of grains and legumes grown in Australia and the US. In some situations, the study showed that Australian grains and legumes contained more nutrients than equivalent crops in the US. For example, Australian barley was found to have higher levels of polyunsaturated fat than American barley according to the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. 

However, in other situations, samples of Australian-grown grain were found to contain fewer nutrients compared with US-grown grain. For example, Australian buckwheat samples contained significantly lower levels of fibre.

A GLNC presentation at a 2014 Agribusiness Crop Update in Perth discussed the results of the pilot study. The presentation highlighted the need to invest in a full-scale research project to further explore the nutritional differences already identified and establish a comprehensive Australian database.

Growers also showed support for the database in providing information on the nutrient content and a broader profile of grains and legumes grown in Australia when the GLNC presented the pilot study findings at the Liebe Group and Mingenew Irwin Group Regional Crop Updates this year.

The GLNC is now working to finalise a standardised approach for collecting samples of grains and legumes for nutritional analysis, with the aim of launching a new full-scale research project that would allow for analysis of 2014 harvest samples.

The approach being developed draws on the outcomes from a ‘roundtable discussion’ with representatives from the research, academic and grains sectors hosted by the GLNC in Sydney in May.

More information:

www.glnc.org.au

More information on nutrient analysis of Australian-grown grains and legumes contact GLNC:
1300 472 467, contactus@glnc.org.au

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