Ozone treatment found to improve quality characteristics of medium hard wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)


Chinese researchers looked into the possibility of using ozone as an environmentally friendly oxidant that speeds up the natural maturation of wheat flour for making bread. They reported that using ozone treatment to oxidize wheat flours improved the properties of mantou (“steamed bread”) made from the oxidized flour.

The Wuhan Polytechnic University conducted the study, with the findings published in the CyTA Journal of Food.

  • Azodicarbonamide, benzoyl peroxide, and calcium peroxide are common oxidizing agents used to bleach flour and improve dough. However, they are also increasingly linked with adverse effects on human health and the environment.
  • Ozone is a possible alternative as an oxidizing agent. It occurs in nature, decays very quickly, leaves no harmful residues, and is widely used in food processing and water treatment.
  • For the study, the researchers treated medium hard wheat flour with ozone gas (5 milligrams/liter at 3.3 L/minute) for 0.5 hours, one hour, 1.5 hours, and two hours, respectively. They used untreated flour (zero hours of treatment) as a control for comparison.
  • According to their findings, ozone treatment greatly increased the amount of wet gluten and whiteness of wheat flour. At the same time, oxidation caused sizable drops in α-amylase activity, peak viscosity, hot paste viscosity, and cold paste viscosity in the dough.
  • Furthermore, the ozone treatment altered the microstructure of starch by causing them to shrink. One and a half hours of ozone treatment turned all the starch into single granules.

Based on the results of their experiment, the researchers concluded that treating wheat flour with ozone for one hour achieved the best effect when it came to quality, dimensions, structure, and texture of steamed bread made from the flour.

The full text of their study can be found here.

Journal Reference:

Mei J, Liu G, Huang X, Ding W. EFFECTS OF OZONE TREATMENT ON MEDIUM HARD WHEAT (TRITICUM AESTIVUM L.) FLOUR QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE IN STEAMED BREAD MAKING. CyTA – Journal of Food. 19 Jan 2016;14(3):1–8. DOI: 10.1080/19476337.2015.1133714.



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