Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company U.S. Patent No. 9,150,839, entitled “Wheat with Increased Resistant Starch Levels.” The patent covers Arcadia’s non-genetically modified Resistant Starch (RS) Wheat lines.

Arcadia’s RS Wheat was developed using the company’s proprietary wheat genetic diversity library, an extensive and exclusive resource of wheat lines with high-density variations in genetic composition and gene function. The RS Wheat project was funded in part by a grant from the US National Institutes for Health (NIH) and is currently in Phase 4 of Arcadia’s development pipeline.

Resistant starch is a form of dietary fiber that is digested more slowly than regular starch. Slower digestion results in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, so food products made with RS Wheat have a lower glycemic index. Resistant starch also is fermented in the lower intestine to provide additional colon health benefits.

Compared to conventional wheat varieties, which have very low levels of resistant starch, Arcadia’s RS Wheat has significantly higher levels of total dietary fiber in both whole grain flour and especially refined white flour. Studies have linked resistant starch to improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood glucose levels, and increased satiety, benefitting people with diabetes, pre-diabetes and obesity.

“Because wheat is the world’s largest cultivated crop, it’s a key focus for the health-promoting benefits of resistant starch,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia. “RS Wheat creates the potential for wheat-based whole foods like pasta, bread and other baked goods with higher fiber and fewer additives. Foods like these may taste and perform like those made with refined wheat, but have significant additional health benefits. This could make a great contribution to global health, and represents a major financial opportunity for Arcadia.”

The global market for whole grain and high fiber foods is projected to reach $29.5 billion by 2020, driven by growing consumer focus on health and well-being, and increasing awareness of the benefits of a whole grain and fiber rich diet, according to a report from Global Industry Analysts, Inc. The USDA recommends a total dietary fiber intake of 25-38 grams a day, but Americans typically only consume a daily average of 16 grams of fiber. In addition, fiber consumption is below recommended amounts in many countries despite the World Health Organization’s recommendation of at least 25 grams of fiber a day.

The issuance of this key US patent further expands Arcadia’s global patent portfolio, which includes more than 170 patents and patent applications owned or exclusively controlled by Arcadia.