New USDA developments include a flour that could prevent weight gain

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The Agriculture Department’s annual report on technology transfer includes news of a scientific discovery that could be worth getting excited about.

Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the report, announcing that USDA discoveries in the last fiscal year led to 180 new inventions — one of which is a new type of flour made of chardonnay grape seeds that may prevent weight gain.

“Grape seeds, a waste byproduct of the wine-making process, are a disposal issue for producers,” the report reads. “[Agricultural Research Service ] scientists in Albany, California, found that flour made from chardonnay grape seeds, but not red grapes or grape skins, prevented increases in plasma cholesterol and weight gain in hamsters fed a high-fat diet.”

“In subsequent research, the scientists measured changes in the metabolic pathways of cholesterol and fat metabolism that supported the weight-loss observations. The sale of grape seeds for milling into flour has the potential to offer an additional revenue stream for wine producers.”

According to USDA human clinical trials are currently being conducted at the Mayo clinic.

Other inventions included in the 2013 report include an enzyme compound that could be used in insecticides to combat a disease-spreading insect that has caused problems for the U.S. military in Iraq, a way to turn grass clippings into energy and a packet that can help keep fresh fruit from rotting.

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