German-Peruvian Project AMOR can start
The second German-Peruvian CORNET project AMOR has been approved for funding. The proposal had been submitted within the 28th CORNET call and will be coordinated by the German research association IVLV – Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung e.V. (Industry Association for Food Technology and Packaging). Research partners will be UHOH – University of Hohenheim and KIT – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The German project partners are planned to be funded within the funding scheme Industrial Collective Research by the BMWi – Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, managed by the AiF – German Federation of Industrial Research Associations.
The funding organisation Innóvate Perú will fund the research performed by APRODES – Asociación Peruana para la Promoción del Desarrollo Sostenible, Sede Cusco (Peruvian Association for the Promotion of Sustainable Development, Cusco Headquarters) and UNSAAC – Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco (National University of San Antonio Abad del Cusco).
Entering New Territory
Tobias Voigt, Managing Director of IVLV, says: “The cooperation with our Peruvian project partners APRODES and UNSAAC means new territory for us. We are looking forward to jointly acquiring new knowledge, and we are curious to see what the cooperation across continents will bring. Without CORNET this project would not be possible.”
Amaranth: Unique properties
The project title AMOR stands for “AMaranth as source of Omega fatty acids and gluten free grains: Marker-assisted bReeding and cultivar selection to obtain functional healthy oils and raw materials for food-processing”.
Amaranth is a cereal from South America that is becoming increasingly popular in Europe. The gluten-free grains contain the vital omega-3 fatty acid DHA and the substance squalene, which according to recent studies contributes to reducing the risk of cancer. In addition, the grain has a high content of unsaturated fatty acids. These unique properties of amaranth grains open up interesting perspectives as a source of dietary supplements or nutraceuticals for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Amaranth is currently hardly cultivated in Germany, but is mostly imported from Latin America. In Peru, for example, around 3,000 amaranth varieties are available, but these have so far only been investigated in terms of agricultural characteristics such as yield potential or growth period.
Breeding new varieties for better use
This is where the CORNET project AMOR comes in: the projet wants to develop the potential of amaranth as a commercial source of functional foods or food supplements. The genetic diversity of the amaranth varieties available in Peru is to be characterised in order to identify promising genotypes. The aim is to breed new varieties that have a shorter time to market and improved properties as functional foods. The project team plans to investigate them with regard to their nutritional value as well as their oil and protein content and fatty acid profiles. It is planned to use amaranth oil in the food industry as a gourmet oil and as an important ingredient in functional foods and dietary supplements. Production chain managers will be able to better advise farmers on what amaranth properties are required by the industry and, accordingly, which varieties they should cultivate.
Prof. Dr. Simone Graeff-Hönninger
University of Hohenheim
Picture: © Uni Hohenheim