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

 

Scoop Business: Fletcher To Close Its Christchurch Insulation Plant, Cut 29 Jobs

Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest listed company, will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations in a “highly competitive market”. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Novartis Adds Nine New Treatments Under Pharmac Deal

Novartis New Zealand, the local unit of the global pharmaceuticals firm, has added nine new treatments in a far-ranging agreement with government drug buying agency, Pharmac. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Wary On Tax Take, Could Threaten Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning the tax take may come in below forecast in the current financial year, as figures released today confirm it was short by nearly $1 billion in the year to June 30 and English warned of the potential impact of slumping receipts from agricultural exports. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Outage: Power Mostly Restored Overnight

Vector wishes to advise that all but 324 customers have been restored overnight. These customers are spread throughout the network in small pockets. The main St Johns feeder was restored around midnight allowing most of the customers in all affected areas to have power this morning. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Dairy Prices Drop To Lowest Since August 2009

Dairy product prices fell to the lowest level in more than five years in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by declines in butter milk powder and whole milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news