GoodWheat producer hires former Monsanto researcher as head of R&D

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Arcadia has developed several wheat strains under the GoodWheat name with value-adds like increased fiber, resistant starch and reduced allergenic gluten. Pic: ©Getty Images/Bloomberg
Arcadia has developed several wheat strains under the GoodWheat name with value-adds like increased fiber, resistant starch and reduced allergenic gluten. Pic: ©Getty Images/Bloomberg

Related tags: Wheat, genome, R&D, Research, bioengineered, Shelf life, Gluten, Patent, Fiber, Value added

Arcadia Biosciences has appointed Randy Shultz as head of R&D to nurture its recently formed specialty genomics team and focus on the company’s wheat project with Ardent Mills.

Shultz has worked in plant science and agricultural biotechnology for two decades, most recently at Inari Agriculture, a plant breeding and seed company. He previously led scientific production teams, including their Genome Editing Platform team, at Bayer Crop Science (formerly under the Monsanto name).

Sarah Reiter, Arcadia’s chief commercial officer, told BakeryandSnacks that Shultz will lead teams developing enhanced wheat functionality and nutrition.

New wheat for a new age

The company’s GoodWheat portfolio currently comprises several wheat strains with value-adds such as increased fiber, resistant starch and reduced allergenic gluten.

Researchers under Shultz will also advance a project with Ardent Mills, first announced last November, to reduce rancidity and improve wheat.

The ‘Extended Shelf Life’ trait slows the enzymatic properties that reduce shelf life and minimizes the bitterness sometimes tied to wholewheat products.

Arcadia received a US patent​for the non-GM technology, which also aims to cut waste.

“With his deep expertise in gene editing and new plant breeding technologies, [Shultz] will be exploring new partnerships and licensing opportunities to expand our platform of tools to improve crops,” ​said CEO and president Raj Ketkar.

“We are thrilled to have a science leader of [Shultz’s] caliber as we build our capabilities in cannabis and advance future innovations in our GoodWheat portfolio of novel wheat attributes.”

Arcadia’s high-fiber resistant starch GoodWheat is commercially available. It contains 94% amylose – the enzyme that aids the breakdown of starch for conversion to energy – compared to the standard 25% to 30%.

Its ‘reduced gluten’ strain will soon follow, the company said.

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