New Australian instant wheat, says non-GM? : LUSENET : Countryside II : One Thread

This instant wheat is said to be non-GM, I wonder what definition of GM they are using? Guess I need to investigate what "advanced molecular genetics techniques" are called.

Australia Scientists Engineer Instant Wheat Tue May 21, 1:59 PM ET By Michael Byrnes

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian scientists are claiming a world first for creating biologically engineered wheat, used as instant dishes after boiling in water, and wheat crispies similar to the existing "snap, crackle and pop" rice crispies.

The engineered wheat, which has been field tested and is on the commercial table before leading Australian food and bakeries group George Weston Foods Ltd, by-passes the need to mill wheat for the first time in the world, leading scientist Bill Rathmell told Reuters.

The Australian producers of instant wheat have their sights firmly on the U.S. market, where they said Tuesday talks were underway with a "household name" food group.

The products have been developed by scientists with the Wheat Co-operative Research Center (CRC), headed by managing director Rathmell, in conjunction with Sydney University and government departments of agriculture.

"Those markets could be huge," Rathmell told Reuters on Tuesday. "For some of these products the sky might be the limit."

CRC has produced its "novel wheat" from advanced molecular genetics techniques to accelerate traditional breeding processes. The processes do not involve genetic modification (GM).

The techniques had already produced a type of wheat specifically for biscuits, in association with Campbell Soup Co unit Arnotts Biscuits and with miller Goodman Fielder Ltd, he said.

"You can make food products of the cook-in-the-pot type, where you just add boiling water," Rathmell said. "If you do this with ordinary wheat you break your teeth because the wheat stays hard. That's why wheat is normally milled before it's eaten."

Novel "waxy wheat," however, turns edible in the pot after the addition of boiling water.

After the production of 100 tonnes of the novel wheat in field trials last season, enough would be available by the end of next year for commercial production, Rathmell said.

Commercial products could be on supermarket shelves by 2004.

Prime products would be new types of breakfast cereals. A type of Weet-Bix which did not go soggy in the bowl when milk was added was one candidate. Or, he said, "instead of Cup Noodles you'd get a sort of porridge, but made from wheat."

CRC is collaborating with eight core participants, including five commercial groups, Sydney University, and the New South Wales and Western Australian Departments of Agriculture.

"No North American or European wheat breeders (are) anything like as far down the track as we are," Rathmell said.

-- BC (, May 25, 2002


Research is constantly going on to make "new and better products". I'll bet you someone is already experimenting with heirloom varieties to make them immune to cross breeding with GM varieies, which would turn the "heirloom" into a GM variety also. Could get to "Are you a "good GM" or a "bad GM" scenarios in the coming generations.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, May 25, 2002.

If it was genetically modified, I'd know about it. It's not. Not because I'm in the field, but because I had training in it, I keep aware of it, and every Australian is exposed to the news. We've been doing scientific selection and breeding of cereals for over a century, we've got the initial wheat breeder's picture (Farrar) on our currency, and we do it well. It will be straight innovative breeding; or perhaps I should say innovative straight breeding.

-- Don Armstrong (from Australia) (, May 30, 2002.

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