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Blue roti, purple biscuit, black noodles! Indian scientists develop colored varieties of wheat; check health benefits

Swapna Raghu Sanand
Colored wheat, Blue wheat, purple wheat , black wheat, NABI, Indian scientists, Monika Garg, agricultural biotechnologists , NABI Mohali, Health benefits of coloured wheat

How about having rotis that come in different hues like blue, purple or even black! Add to this platter, blue or purple noodles, or perhaps biscuits of different hues. Think about it more and the list can be endless when you plan what ‘colours’ to fill your plate and suit your palate. Led by Monika Garg, a team of agricultural biotechnologists in Mohali developed the coloured wheat varieties. They have also transferred the technology to various companies.

For decades, bio-fortification of staple diets has been a major challenge for agricultural biotechnologists. Now it is known that colored wheat can be adapted to local climatic conditions along with satisfactory yield potential.

When choosing clothes of a certain colour, people tend to associate the colour with a visual attribute or a certain visual perception before opting to wear a specific colour. In the case of coloured wheat, for instance, the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute at Mohali has shared details of how each colour corresponds to a specific nutritional value. The purple color is linked to mutation in the pericarp, whereas blue is the result of wide introgression. Notably, black color combines both of them.

So, what exactly are the benefits of these coloured wheat lines? Plenty!

Anti-inflammatory effects, prevention of fat deposition, improvement of glucose homeostasis, lowering of serum cholesterol and free fatty acid levels and insulin tolerance and lowering the serum cholesterol are some of the benefits listed out in a report shared by the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali.

Also, the coloured wheat varieties also contain higher levels of essential proteins and micronutrients such as zinc. Based on the rigorous discipline of continuous breeding programmes spanning many years of research, the Mohali-based NABI scientists developed several generations of coloured wheat lines that can yield amazing health benefits once they are put to use.

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Given the demand for foods that come with numerous health benefits, there is no doubt that colored wheat lines for commercial products can take off in a big way for consumers and retailers. For daily use items that Indians are known to consume such as noodles, bun, bread, biscuits, pizza base, rotis and so on, the potential is huge.

For those of us who are conscious about the nutritional value of the food, can there be a better option than coloured wheat hues?

Time to change the colour of rotis, I say!