Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Squeezing the health out of blackberries

Squeezing the health out of blackberries

Researchers are looking at new food production methods to extract valuable natural compounds from fruits like blackberries. Their work could lead to greater use in foods and medicines to improve public health and wellbeing.

Studies have shown that fresh fruit and vegetables have properties with the ability to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and cancer, and are widely promoted as an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Guidance from the World Health Organization recommends eating a minimum of 400 grammes of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

However, many millions of people across the world regularly miss their nutritional targets prompting researchers to look at alternative ways to extract and introduce important vitamins, minerals and other naturally occurring chemical compounds – such as ellagitannins – to fortify and enrich daily diets.

Ellagitannins are relatively rare in foods but are found in some fruits like blackberries and other rubus fruits. Ellagitannins have antioxidant properties and are potentially beneficial to public health, but minimal research has been undertaken to extract them efficiently and economically.

Using ultrafiltration membranes a team of researchers from France and Costa Rica1 have successfully chemically engineered the extraction of ellagitannins from blackberry juice. Their innovation could see the introduction of another important natural ingredient into the food chain – especially functional foods designed to improve health.

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) chief executive, Dr David Brown, said: “Society continues to be challenged by preventable issues such as rising cancer rates. Education and encouraging people to lead more active lifestyles and nutritionally balanced diets are just some of the solutions. Producing food which is inherently healthier is another option to improve public health.

“Many functional and ‘fortified’ foods like probiotic yogurts and breakfast cereals are staple items in most households and successfully balance health, nutrition and consumer satisfaction. Their production relies on chemical engineering principles.

“The more research we can undertake to identify and extract important ingredients such as ellagitannins on a large scale, the greater the opportunities we have to introduce healthier foods for populations as a whole and address health inequalities.”

The role of chemical engineers in the health, water, food and energy sectors is explored in IChemE’s latest technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters.

About chemical engineers
Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, maths and economics to the process of turning raw materials into everyday products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process operations all over the world. Pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the products where chemical engineering plays a central role.

About IChemE
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is the hub for chemical, biochemical and process engineering professionals worldwide. With a growing global membership of over 38,000, the Institution is at the heart of the process community, promoting competence and a commitment to best practice, advancing the discipline for the benefit of society, encouraging young people in science and engineering and supporting the professional development of its members. Further information: www.icheme.org

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Water: Farming Leaders Pledge To Help Make Rivers Swimmable

In a first for the country, farming leaders have pledged to work together to help make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations. More>>

ALSO:

Unintended Consequences: Liquor Change For Grocery Stores On Tobacco Tax

Changes in the law made to enable grocery stores to continue holding liquor licences to sell alcohol despite increases in tobacco taxes will take effect on 15 September 2017. More>>

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Snail-ier Mail: NZ Post To Ditch FastPost

New Zealand Post customers will see a change to how they can send priority mail from 1 January 2018. The FastPost service will no longer be available from this date. More>>

ALSO:

Property Institute: English Backs Of Debt To Income Plan

Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church is applauding today’s decision, by Prime Minister Bill English, to take Debt-to-income ratios off the table as a tool available to the Reserve Bank. More>>

ALSO: