Processors Examine Flax’s Functional Food Value at NCI Course

May 1, 2009

Processors Examine Flax’s Functional Food Value at NCI Course

Fargo, N.D., USA – Flax is center stage at Northern Crops Institute (NCI) this week.  The “Flaxseed: Adding Functional Food Value” Short Course attracted food processors from Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Ohio. 

The short course is co-sponsored by AmeriFlax, the trade organization that represents North Dakota flax producers. Sheri Coleman, Ameriflax Executive Director, and three members of the Ameriflax board are also attending the course. 

North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and South Dakota are the top-ranked flax producers in the U.S.

“Flaxseed is an important crop for our region and can be utilized in many ways to improve nutritional and functional attributes of food products,” says Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., NCI Technical Director. “Our main objective in this program is to educate participants on production, quality, shelf life and processing of U.S. flaxseed. Hands-on experiences with tortilla and snack foods help participants understand the impact of flaxseed fortification in food systems,” he concludes.

Topics during the course highlight nutritional benefits of flaxseed, flaxseed quality, milling of flaxseed, shelf life stability, storage, functionality of milled flaxseed, flour and semolina selection with flaxseed fortification, utilization of milled flaxseed in bread (pan, hearth, pita, tortilla and chapatti), pasta, and extruded snack products, sensory properties of flaxseed in food systems, and microbial issues and quality evaluation in flaxseed products. 

Participants also gain hands-on experience in NCI’s grain grading, analytical, baking and processing laboratories. 

Course speakers include: Clifford Hall III, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Cereal and Food Sciences; Hans Kandel, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Plant Sciences; Thunyaporn Jeradechachai, NCI Crop Quality Specialist; Frank Manthey, Ph.D., NDSU Dept. of Plant Sciences; Rilie Morgan, NCI Processing Specialist; and Mehmet Tulbek, Ph.D., NCI Technical Director and Cereal Processing Engineer.

According to the Ameriflax website,, flaxseed is one of the highest plant sources of omega-3 fat, with over 50% of the fat portion in flaxseed comprised of an omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Every ounce (about 3 Tbsp.) of ground flaxseed delivers more than 30% of the recommended daily fiber intake. Flaxseed is about 20% protein with many “essential” amino acids that the body cannot make on its own. Flaxseed is literally loaded with lignans, natural cancer-preventative phytonutrients. Finally, flaxseed is full of vital vitamins and minerals—folate, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, copper, zinc, magnesium and potassium.

Northern Crops Institute supports regional agriculture and value-added processing by conducting educational and technical programs that expand and maintain domestic and international markets for northern-grown crops.  NCI is funded by the states of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and commodity groups in those states and Montana.

Flaxseed: Adding Functional Food Value Short Course

April 28-30, 2009