Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Nutrition & Food Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Joelle Romanchik-Cerpovicz


The prevalence of kudzu has risen in the United States since its introduction in 1876. Though its invasiveness may play a negative role in our ecosystems, its roots have been used nutritionally in China for over 2,000 years because of their high starch content. In the United States, the use of kudzu starch as food products is limited. This study compared the moisture content and spread of reduced-fat gluten-free cookies prepared with kudzu starch-thickened aqueous mixture to similar gluten-free cookies prepared with rice flour and gluten-containing all-purpose wheat flour sugar cookies with kudzu starch, to gluten-containing sugar cookies (control). Moisture content was determined gravimetrically, while cookie spread was measured in centimeters. The results indicated that, compared to the control wheat flour (6.2%) and rice flour cookie (3.4%), the kudzu rice flour and kudzu wheat flour cookie had mean moisture contents (14%) which were significantly higher than control cookies (p=0.001). Substitution of kudzu starch for margarine in rice flour cookies (8.11 +/- 0.32 cm) and wheat flour cookies (7.18 +/- 0.33 cm) resulted in a significant difference in spread between the two. However, control rice flour cookies prepared with margarine (9.94 +/- 0.40cm) were significantly different compared to control wheat flour cookies (7.41 +/- 0.30cm) and kudzu rice flour cookies due to lack of gluten and moisture-thickened starch. This study shows that kudzu starch can be successfully incorporated into cookies to reduce fat content and combined with gluten-free flours to achieve moisture and maintain structure.