VATIS Update Food Processing . Sep-Oct 2010

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Food Processing Sep-Oct 2010

ISSN: 0971-5649

VATIS Update Food Processing is published 4 times a year to keep the readers up to date of most of the relevant and latest technological developments and events in the field of Food Processing. The Update is tailored to policy-makers, industries and technology transfer intermediaries.

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Foreign investments take a giant leap in Indian food sector

India’s Minister for Food Processing Industries Mr. Subodh Kant Sahai has confirmed that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the food processing sector witnessed a 175 per cent during 2009-10 to US$279.33 million from the US$102.64 million in 2008-2009. Mr. Sahai stated this while addressing the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament. The Minister said that the food processing sector had benefited with innovative technologies, and improved quality of products because of foreign funds. “FDI is expected to bring new products, improved quality and new technology in the food processing sector, resulting in higher employment, and reduction in wastage of agri-products,” he said.

China sets up research centre on food safety controls

China’s first scientific institution focusing on legislation for food safety was established recently in Beijing. The research centre aims to offer guidance on legislation and law enforcement in food safety, and explore new systems to better ensure the quality of the food on offer to the country’s citizens. The centre is formed by experts from the National People’s Congress, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and senior officials from food inspection institutions.

Dr. Wang Liming, the Vice President of Renmin University, said that genetically modified food is a new matter of concern for those involved in ensuring food safety. Most law-enforcing departments have a weak system that does not ensure reliable supervision of food safety, and the inspection system and enhancement of law enforcement should be the main tasks for the research centre, he added.

Other experts pointed out that laws and regulations on food security can be controversial and regulations in some regions can even contradict the current laws. Such problems pose a threat to the welfare of the country’s citizens and also involve issues of morality and social responsibility, they said. A legal expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences pointed out that different food production sectors being managed by different administrative departments causes difficulties for those involved in food safety inspection. He also lamented the lack of preventive mechanisms to check food safety issues.

Philippines leads in beta-carotene enriched rice research

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) leads Third World countries in the development of rice varieties that contain beneficial amounts of beta-carotene. PhilRice will conduct field trials on these varieties in the dry season next year. At the rate local research is going, the Philippines is likely to be the first developing country to grow these rice varieties, PhilRice Executive Director Mr. Ronilo A. Beronio said.

Plant breeders in the country used conventional means to insert the gene containing beta-carotene in PSB Rc82, a local popular variety. PhilRice will test the variety’s adaptability and performance after signing a material transfer agreement, Mr. Beronio said. The beta-carotene-laden rice is to be transferred to farmers by 2013. The variety can be grown organically and can be sold at a price comparable with the regular polished rice.

Vietnamese seafood gains popularity in Asia

Viet Nam’s processed seafood has won more recognition from many Asian countries, especially Japan, the Republic of Korea and Cambodia. According to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), by mid-July 2010, Viet Nam had exported around 22,000 tonnes of processed seafood worth over US$99 million to 53 markets throughout the world.

Japan was the largest importer of Vietnamese processed molluscs with 2,800 tonnes, valued at more than US$17 million. In total, it imported over 5,000 tonnes of Vietnamese seafood worth around US$29 million. The Republic of Korea increased its seafood imports from Viet Nam to meet the increasing demand. By July 15, the country had bought over 2,600 tonnes of processed fish for US$13.8 million. In the reviewed period, Cambodia imported over 1,400 tonnes of processed seafood worth US$2.4 million.

In the first seven months, Viet Nam’s seafood export turnover reached US$2.45 billion, a year-on-year increase of nearly 12 per cent. The European Union remained Viet Nam’s largest importer with US$512 million, followed by Japan with over US$373 million.

Sri Lanka to boost its agri-business

The Sri Lankan government is all set to accelerate economic activities in the agri-industry and has formed close ties with the private sector to identify the development needs of the industry. Speaking at the inauguration of Profoods Propack 2010, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Rishad Bathiudeen said that both long-term and short-term goals have been set up, in line with the government policy, to uplift the agri-industry.

Mr. Bathiudeen said that dialogue with industry stakeholders showed the need to direct more focus towards research and development, training and certification for staff, besides a few adjustments in the fiscal policies. He stated that the key programmes among the many projects in the pipeline include industry linkage to research and development.

India’s instant tea firms get export duty incentive

India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has granted a 5 per cent duty incentive on tea export to instant tea makers under a special agriculture and rural industry scheme called Vishesh Krishi aur Gram Udyog Yojana. The move is aimed at boosting outbound shipments at a time when the world markets are yet to emerge out of recession. The industry welcomed the development. Mr. J. Kalyansundaram, Secretary of Calcutta Tea Traders Association, said: “This will help the instant tea makers to enter into new markets as the incentive will help the companies remain cost-competitive.” Goodricke Group MD & CEO Mr. A.N. Singh, said, “This is a welcome move. The measure has come at an appropriate time as China is gradually emerging as a significant player in the instant tea market.” Goodricke’s instant tea plant, an export-oriented unit located in Bengal, produces 300 tonne tea annually. Tata Global Beverages, which has its instant tea plant in Kerala, produced 1,836 tonnes of instant tea powder in FY 2010.

Meat to drive Chinese food processing industry

Rising demand for meat will drive the Chinese food processing industry to record double digit growth, according to market research organization RNCOS. The latest RNCOS report, Chinese Processed Food Market Analysis, predicts that the processed food industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 per cent over the next three years. The processed meat sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16 per cent from 2010-2013.

Increasing affluence coupled with a growing appetite for time-saving processed food is driving the demand for more processed meat meals. Between 2000 and 2008, demand for processed meat products rocketed 345 per cent, leading it to become the fastest growing sector within the processed food industry. After processed meat, dairy and ready meals are predicted to be the two highest growing segments. Chinese consumers are increasingly prepared to accept more low-temperature food products, reflecting a growing perception of the taste and health benefits of low-temperature foods. This trend is already leading major Chinese processed meat manufacturers to boost their production of low-temperature food products.

Mobile packaging toll facility launched in the Philippines

Small entrepreneurs in Ilocos Norte, the Philippines, are getting closer to producing more globally competitive food products with assistance from a mobile packaging toll facility, financed through a grant from the Industrial Guarantee & Loan Fund (IGLF) administered by Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

The pilot mobile packaging toll facility is part of a 5 million pesos (approx. US$110,000) grant assistance to the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) business assistance centre that offers a host of technical support services. The facility has initially packaged sachets of solid and liquid local food products. The mobile facility moves from one municipality to another to respond to the packaging requirements of small entrepreneurs in the province. The grant also financed the improvement of the MMSU food safety laboratory, which will help in ensuring the quality assurance of food products in the province. The laboratory has institutionalized food safety measures as observed in the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).

Novelty is key in Japanese bakery and cereals market

The bakery and cereals market in Japan, although mature with close to 600 new product launches in 2009, is still dynamic with manufacturers relentlessly attempting to incorporate novelty in product offerings. A major factor for this is the evolving demographic situation in Japan. Long working hours, changing household structure, and growing prominence of nuclear and single occupancy households have all contributed to the growing popularity of breads, rolls, cakes and pastries that are quick and easy to consume even on-the-go. Other factors such as rising western influence too have had a significant role to play in this.

An important factor responsible for this change in perception is the manufacturers’ attempt to incorporate health benefits in bakery products to ensure that they appeal to the sensibilities of the Japanese, who are known to be health-conscious. Phrases such as “high vitamins”, “high fibre” and “no preservatives” were some of the most commonly found claims/tags on the new products launched in 2009. While chocolate was the most widely used single flavour, it was in fact a blend of different flavours that was found in most number of products. Blend or combination of different flavours is rising in popularity mainly because consumers are actively seeking variety and uniqueness in new products.


New Codex measures to ensure safer food

As fresh, leafy vegetables move along the supply chain from the farm to the table, they can be contaminated by pathogens such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli and hepatitis A virus. The new Codex Alimentarius Commission measures provide specific guidance for production, harvesting, packing, processing, storage, distribution, marketing and consumer education to reduce food safety risks associated with these products. The guidance covers such aspects as the control of irrigation waters, cooling and storage, and correct washing of hands by consumers.

The Commission also gave specific advice on how to control bacteria in seafood throughout the food chain. In recent years, there has been an increase in reported outbreaks of food-borne disease caused by bacterial species called Vibrio, which are typically associated with the consumption of seafood – especially oysters that are often eaten raw. The new Codex measures will help to minimize the risks.

The methods used for analysis and sampling are the necessary basis for food inspection and control. The new Guidelines adopted by the Commission will make it possible to run tests to determine if foods are derived from modern biotechnology, to authenticate food varieties such as fish species and to establish the presence of allergens. Agreement on the guidelines marks an important international consensus in the area of biotechnology where the Commission has already developed several guidelines related to safety assessments for foods derived from modern biotechnology.

The 47-year-old Codex Alimentarius Commission, run jointly by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), sets international food standards to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade. The Commission has 182 Member States and one Member Organization, the European Union.

Compulsory jute packaging for sugar, food grains

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs of Government of India has retained 100 per cent reservation for jute (Hessian) bags in the mandatory Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPMA) for 2010-11 for packing sugar and food grains. The Ministry of Textiles had proposed a 25 per cent dilution on jute bags use, and the Standing Advisory Committee (SAC), chaired by the Textiles Secretary, had recommended likewise in JPMA for 2010-11.

Mr. Manish Poddar, Chairman of the Indian Jute Mills Association, said the decision would help the jute industry in West Bengal state, which is the leading producer of jute (50 per cent) in the country. The Textile Ministry proposed a dilution on the grounds that production would be lower than consumption during the current year. However, spurred by higher prices and favourable weather conditions, raw jute production has increased substantially than anticipated. With a total production of about 12 million bales (each 108 kg), carryover of 1.2 million bales from 2009-10 and likely import of 0.3-0.5 million bales, the total availability is likely to work out to about 13.5 million bales, according to a senior official in the industry.

New standards for Fiji’s coconut industry

Fiji’s coconut industry embraced new standards at a recent stakeholders’ forum. The 17 standards – 14 of which apply to products that are currently produced in the country – will ensure that coconut products meet quality norms. The standards will apply to all coconut products, whether sold locally or exported.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Col. Mason Smith, said the 17 new standards were arrived at after heavy consultations. He said copra, for instance, was classified into grades A, B and C and that the standards guideline specified the composition, moisture content, amount of fat, etc. for each of the grades. The standards will ensure compliance with the Codex Alimentarius Commission standards on food products and guidelines. Col. Smith said the standards will be presented to the Cabinet for approval. Some standards including those for desiccated coconut were not discussed.

New Zealand issues colostrum labelling guidance

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZSFA) has published guidance to help infant product makers meet labelling requirements for colostrum. New Zealand regulations state any products containing less than 100 per cent colostrum will not be able to carry labels like ‘colostrum’ or ‘pure colostrum’ or any other wording that implies a formulation is solely colostrum. Colostrum is a milk fraction commonly added to infant formulas and follow-on milks. “Products containing dairy components other than colostrum must have a description that accurately reflects this, i.e. colostrum milk tablets or colostrum milk powder,” the NZSFA said. Tabletting and encapsulating aids are exempt from the labelling guidelines.

India’s standards authority finalizes draft regulations

India is in the final stages of implementing its Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006. Under FSSA 2006, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was established with the mandate to establish scientific standards for articles of food, regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food, and to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

The Authority will have the second meeting of its Central Advisory Committee (CAC) on 22 October 2010. The first CAC meeting held on 19 January 2010 had discussed FSSA draft regulations. Based on the comments received from the stakeholders and input from the review committee, the FSSA draft regulations were modified and reviewed by FSSAI in April 2010. FSSAI has now sent the final draft Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2010, to the Indian government for final approval. When the final approval is granted, it will be notified in India’s Official Gazette. According to Dr. P.I. Suvrathan, Chairman of FSSAI, the Act is expected to be rolled out all over the country by September 2010.


Rapid measurement of cadmium content in rice

The Seiko Instruments Inc., Japan, plans to start selling as early as autumn a testing device that is capable of measuring trace cadmium content in rice in a few minutes. The device was developed by the Seiko group firm SSI NanoTechnology Inc., with the goal of tapping demand from agricultural cooperatives and others.

Japan’s revised food safety regulations prohibit sale of rice containing 0.4 parts per million (ppm) or more of cadmium, lifting the threshold from the current level of 1 ppm. SSI NanoTechnology’s device is capable of measuring cadmium content levels in 0.1 ppm increments using about 10 g of rice as sample. The measuring process, which employs X-ray technology, takes about 2 minutes if the content level is 0 ppm. It takes longer, or about 3 minutes at 0.1 ppm and 10 minutes at 0.2 ppm.

Methodology to identify fats in food

Dr. Harold Bult, a senior scientist at the Dutch food research company NIZO, has developed a new methodology to identify physical properties of fat-containing foods that determine mouthfeel, from movements of the tongue during consumption. This approach has added an important tool to the development of “low” food products that taste as good as the original foods. Previously, the contribution of fats to mouthfeel could only be determined by in vitro measurements.

Reducing the fat content of food products may help consumers cut down on calorie intake. However, taking out fats has consequences. Fats contribute positively to a creamy mouthfeel, aroma release and the stability of certain foods. Thus, to create low-fat products that still taste nice, a comprehensive approach that takes these aspects into account is needed. NIZO recently developed various technologies to determine the difference in aroma release between high and low-fat products during consumption. This has contributed significantly to improving the taste of low-fat foods.

NIZO developed a methodology to obtain a real-time spatial profile of oral behaviour based on movements of the tongue and cheeks during consumption. The profile can be used to find out which product properties determine mouthfeel during consumption. This information provides insight into the pressures and shear forces that a food undergoes in the mouth. Differences in the observed mouthfeel of foods can thus be related to the way the food product reacts to pressure and shear.

“By combining this new methodology with existing in vitro measurements on aroma release, we now have an integral approach to determine the optimal aroma and texture properties based on conduct and perception of people during consumption,” explained Dr. Bult. “Armed with the new knowledge provided by this methodology, we will also learn why promising fat replacers in the past didn’t meet expectations,” he added.

Fast and smart E. coli test

A food science researcher at Purdue University, the United States, has come up with an infrared spectroscopy that can detect and differentiate between Escherichia coli strains and do it faster than existing methods. Dr. Lisa Mauer, an associate professor of food science says the new method can differentiate between different E. coli strains, including O157:H7 and the non-O157 varieties that can also make people sick.

No relevant, validated, rapid analytical test for non-O157:H7 shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) was commercially available to the industry until now, and that made it difficult to effectively implement any regulatory programme to check products containing non-O157:H7 STECs. Dr. Mauer’s test now enables the detection of E. coli strains in about an hour using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. This is a big improvement on the 48 hours needed for conventional plating technology with its need to culture cells in a laboratory.

Dr. Mauer demonstrated two methods for separating bacteria from ground beef for testing. An antibody-capture method, which binds bacteria to antibodies attached to magnetic beads, yielded results in about four hours. A filtration method achieved results in about an hour. Infrared spectroscopy can detect as little as E. coli cell if the bacteria were cultured for six hours. Dr. Mauer’s method can also differentiate between living and dead E. coli cells, which is something current testing cannot do.

E. coli has a specific infrared spectrum that can be read with a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer. Infrared light is passed over the sample. The spectrometer reads the spectrum created by the combination of energy that has been absorbed and energy that has been reflected back. “Energy is only absorbed by certain components of the sample,” Dr. Mauer said. “If that component or bacteria isn’t there, the energy is reflected back.”

A new way to prevent cheese spoilage

Late-blowing in cheese is a significant problem, especially in the manufacture of hard or semi-hard cheeses. Spoilage is caused by contamination of the cheese-making process by Clostridium tyrobutyricum bacteria, which are found naturally in soil, silage, hay and milk. Even small amounts of the bacteria alter the fermentation, causing an excess build-up of carbon dioxide and the production of butyric acid, which gives a rancid taste. The spores of the bacteria are heat-resistant and can survive pasteurization.

In the United Kingdom, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, researchers at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) have identified and characterized a naturally occurring microorganism that specifically attacks C. tyrobutyricum. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and their use to control food spoilage bacteria has been investigated previously by IFR and many other research groups.

In the study published by Ms. Melinda Mayer, Dr. Arjan Narbad and colleagues demonstrate the potential use of this bacteriophage for controlling C. tyrobutyricum. The bacteriophage produces a protein, called an endolysin, which recognizes C. tyrobutyricum and breaks open its cells. The group sequenced the genome of the bacteriophage and identified the gene encoding endolysin. Cloning this gene into Escherichia coli allowed them to produce the endolysin protein to assess its ability to control C. tyrobutyricum levels.

Endolysin effectively reduced C. tyrobutyricum levels in laboratory trials as well as in milk. Significantly, endolysin showed strong specificity for C. tyrobutyricum, which is important because any potential ways of controlling the bacteria in cheese production must not interfere with the bacteria that ferment the cheese. This specificity could also mean that the endolysin could form the basis of a detection system.

Lactic acid bacteria may cut acrylamide formation

A Norwegian company has developed a new process that claims to be 90 per cent effective in reducing acrylamide formation during industrial food production, such as potato fries and toasted coffee. The method, which uses specially developed food-grade lactic acid bacteria, was developed by Zeracryl AS. The Zeracryl method claims to offer “the most cost-effective and efficient way for the food industry to reduce the amount of the toxic substance acrylamide in fried food”, and has already attracted the interest of some industry giants.

Acrylamide is formed by the Maillard reaction – the reaction of the amino acid asparagine with simple sugars. In the Zeracryl process, a “specially formulated culture of food-grade lactic acid bacteria” removes these compounds and inhibits the formation of acrylamide, which is a suspected carcinogen. The patented method is based on lowering the levels of reducing sugars (such as glucose) present on the surface of food products and thus reduce acrylamide formation when the products are fried or heated. In ongoing experiments, the team claim to have shown that 10 to 15 minutes’ immersion in their lactic acid bacteria culture before cooking can reduce acrylamide formation. The company says its methods have been proven effective in industrial settings, and can reduce acrylamide formation in the final product by almost 90 per cent.


Low-viscosity fibre for beverages

Typically, the beverage industry has not been thought of as a source of fibre. Beverages do, however, provide an opportunity to people to increase their fibre consumption, especially now that highly soluble, non-detectable fibre sources are available. Fibersol®-2 is a proprietary, digestion-resistant maltodextrin from Matsutani Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., Japan. It has unique characteristics that make it ideal for beverage fortification. It can be dissolved at levels as high as 70 per cent w/w in water and is stable in acidic conditions (pH 2) and elevated temperatures. Once dissolved, the solution will be transparent. For the consumer, there will be no unexpected mouthfeel or texture changes. In beverages with high-intensity sweeteners, Fibresol-2 helps improve the overall flavour.

From a processing perspective, Fibersol-2 is an easy-to-use powder that can be dissolved using standard equipment. The fibre does not break down or change under acidic conditions, and/or pasteurization or other heat treatments, so the improved beverage will be stable throughout its shelf-life. Fibersol-2 works well in dry mixes, too. It is produced from natural cornstarch and is labelled in the ingredient statement as maltodextrin, which may be qualified as a source of fibre: 100 g of Fibersol-2 contributes 90 g soluble dietary fibre, 2 g sugar and 160 calories.

Capsinoid product

Ajinomoto Co. Inc., Japan, has applied to the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency (FSA) for the authorization of dihydrocapsiate (DHC) under the Novel Food Regulation (EC) 258/97. DHC is a capsinoid found in edible pungent (hot) and non-pungent chilli peppers. The applicant states that capsinoids are able to enhance energy use and fat oxidation. Capsinoids are chemical analogues of capsaicin, which is the hot component creating the sensation of “hotness” in chilli peppers, while capsinoids are virtually non-pungent.

Sourcing of large quantities of DHC from chilli peppers is not sustainable because of the relatively small amounts that are contained in and can be extracted from chilli peppers. Ajinomoto, therefore, intends to produce DHC synthetically to be added to a range of foods. According to the Ajinomoto application, the long history of use of chilli peppers coupled with the extensive toxicology, toxicokinetics and human volunteer studies supports the safety of DHC as a novel food ingredient for the European Community.

Extending the use of whey

A team of scientists of National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), India, has capitalized on the novel features of whey to produce a range of bakery products and porridge. According to the team, the presence of several nutritionally important constituents with excellent functional characteristics promotes wide-range applications of whey and whey constituents in the food industry.

Among mass consumption bakery products, the project is optimizing processing conditions in the production of rusk, bread sticks, pizza base, bun and bread. Further, whey is also used in the production of a mango pulp-based beverage. Another use of whey is in the preparation of unleavened bread. A health food combining whey and foxtail millet has undergone food trials. On similar lines, whey is mixed with sorghum (jowar) – a coarse cereal that is a good source of carbohydrates, minerals and dietary fibre – to prepare porridge. There was also use of concentrated whey in the preparation of traditional food items such as idli (steamed rice-and-lentil cake) and dosa (rice-and-lentil pancake).

Drink aroma from fermentation process

Isobionics, a biotechnology company based in the Netherlands, has developed a fermentation process for the commercial production of its aroma substance, Valencene Pure. The natural ingredient can be used in soft drinks and also has applications in food and cosmetic products.

Valencene Pure is a sesquiterpene that comes from an aroma component of citrus fruit and citrus-derived odorants. The substance is used as a flavour and fragrance ingredient especially in grapefruit products. The firm said the new ingredient can give a fresh juice impression to orange-based soft drinks. Traditional valencene is extracted in low amounts from large quantities of oranges, a process that has a low efficiency (0.4 per cent), according to Isobionics. As well as being more efficient, the fermentation process developed by Isobionics to produce Valencene Pure also has the advantage of not depending on harvest conditions, resulting in constant quality and quantity of the ingredient, which is of a higher purity and insecticide-free.

Low-cost sweetener

Alkem Laboratories, India, has developed a low-cost sweetener that can be a game changer in the diabetes food market. The product, ‘Nano Sugar’, can be used as an ingredient for food and deserts. It has seven times the sweetness of normal sugar and thereby reduces calorie intake proportionately. It is made from sugar-cane, like ordinary sugar, but the company has managed to concentrate the cane juice to increase the sweetness of the product several times. During clinical studies on 40 diabetes patients and 20 healthy individuals in Mumbai, Alkem found that its product did not lead to any increase in glucose level. Alkem Laboratories is patenting the product and the process.

Boosting antioxidant levels in potatoes

Scientists participating in the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) have reported discovery of two simple, inexpensive ways of boosting the amounts of healthful antioxidant substances in potatoes. One involves giving spuds an electric shock, while the other involves zapping them with ultrasound waves. “We found that treating the potatoes with ultrasound or electricity for 5-30 minutes increased the amounts of antioxidants – including phenols and chlorogenic acid – by as much as 50 per cent,” said Dr. Kazunori Hironaka, Obihiro University, Japan. Dr. Hironaka stated that the process could have widespread commercial application due to the growing consumer interest in so-called “functional foods”.

Earlier research had found that drought, bruising and other stresses could stimulate the accumulation of beneficial phenolic compounds in fresh produce, but there hasn’t been any research on the health effects of using mechanical processes to stress vegetables. “So, we decided in this study to evaluate effect of ultrasound and electric treatments on polyphenols and other antioxidants in potatoes,” Dr. Hironaka explained.

The ultrasound treatment consisted of immersing whole potatoes in water and subjecting them to ultrasound for 5 or 10 minutes. For the electrical treatment, the scientists immersed potatoes in a salt solution for 10 seconds and subsequently treated the spuds with a small electrical charge for 10, 20 and 30 minutes. The study team then measured antioxidant activity and the phenolic content and concluded that the stresses increased the amount of these compounds. Five minutes of ultrasound, for instance, increased polyphenol levels by 1.2 times and other antioxidants by about 1.6 times.

Soybean polysaccharides boost fibre content in dairy

Adding significant amounts of dietary fibre into dairy products poses technical challenges because of potential for damage to textural quality. One approach to this problem is to search for low-viscosity fibre sources. In a newly published study, Mr. Chen Wenpu and his colleagues from University of Guelph, Canada, sought to test the performance of soluble soybean polysaccharide (SSPS), a fibre with low viscosity extracted and refined from okra. They incorporated SSPS into three different dairy products including a dairy drink, a pudding and a low-fat ice cream. Rheological measurements and sensory tests were used to develop desirable products.

From these tests the optimum SSPS incorporation was determined as 4 per cent in the pudding with k-carrageenan, 4 per cent in the dairy drink and 2 per cent in the low-fat ice cream. The levels of added soluble fibre in the products were much higher than those available on the market. Of the three products tested, the panellists were most drawn to the fibre-fortified low-fat ice cream, but were willing to consume all products, if commercially available.


Beverage containing tea solids

Unilever Plc, the United Kingdom, Unilever NV, the Netherlands, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., India, and three researchers have jointly filed for patenting a beverage containing polymeric polyphenol, particularly, a substantially clear, ambient temperature beverage that comprises tea solids derived from fermented tea. The invention also relates to a method for improving the clarity of a liquid composition containing a polymeric polyphenol.

On cooling an aqueous black tea infusion from about 90°C to ambient temperature, the turbidity of the infusion increases markedly, leading to precipitation of up to 30 per cent w/w of the total tea solids. This precipitate, known as tea cream, is thought to originate from self-associations of polymeric polyphenols and association with caffeine which form nano-clusters. As the solubility of the polymeric polyphenols further reduces on cooling of the aqueous black tea infusion, these nano-clusters aggregate into larger sub-micelles, which are responsible for the precipitation.

One aspect of the invention provides a solution to this problem, viay a beverage comprising tea solids, a liquid vehicle, added protein and added anionic polysaccharide, wherein the beverage has a cream inhibition of, preferably, 80-100 per cent. Contact: Unilever Plc, Unilever House, 100 Victoria Embankment, London, Greater London EC4Y 0DY, United Kingdom.

Mango wine in the making

Scientists at the Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), India, have developed a wine made from mangoes that they hope might one day compete with the traditional grape-based variety. The researchers have produced wines using three types of mangoes native to the state of Uttar Pradesh – Dussehri, Langra and Chausa. According to Ms. Neelima Garg, who led the team of researchers, each of the wines varies in taste and in flavour. A key problem the scientists faced in the research was treating the viscous mango pulp to make it thin enough to prepare the wine. “The process of fermentation is not very tough, as mango contains huge quantities of sugar, which is the basic source of alcohol, but balancing the viscosity is what needs to be done very carefully,” Ms. Garg said. Alcohol content in the slightly yellow, sweet drink is 8-9 per cent, lower than in the wines made from grapes, which generally ranges from 10-15 per cent.

Improved dragon fruit juice processing system

The juice of dragon fruit (pitaya), a tropical fruit, is well known for its health benefits. For his Master’s degree from Universiti Putra Malaysia, Mr. Abd. Rahman Nur’Aliaa studied pitaya juice production operations, from peeling the fruit to the production of clear pitaya juice using an enzyme. As part of the study, a fruit grater-peeler was invented to ease the peeling process. The device was able to reduce the peeling time up to 94 per cent when compared with manual peeling.

Studies were carried out to obtain the optimum processing condition for enzymatic clarification of red and white pitaya juices. Two types of commercial pectinase enzymes – Pectinex Ultra SP-L and Pectinex CLEAR – were used. Response Surface Methodology (RSM) was used to obtain the optimum processing condition in terms of enzyme concentration, temperature and incubation period. The optimum processing condition for enzymatic treatment of red pitaya juice treated with Pectinex Ultra SP-L was found to be at 0.10 per cent enzyme concentration at 40°C for 45 minutes. For white pitaya juice, the optimum processing condition for enzymatic treatment using Pectinex Ultra SP-L was at 0.06 per cent enzyme concentration at 49°C for 40 min. For white pitaya juice treated with Pectinex CLEAR, the optimum processing condition was at 0.10 per cent enzyme concentration at 40°C for 82 min. The use of the enzyme increased the recovery of pitaya juice after the filtration process. It was also observed that several components such as protein and phenolic contents (antioxidants) had increased after the enzymatic treatment. A process flow sheet was developed for producing juice at laboratory scale (batch processing). Laboratory-scale processing was carried out to resemble large-scale continuous processing in the industry. Calculation of material balance was also done based on the process flow sheet that had been developed. Data obtained from this research can be used as a base for developing large-scale pitaya juice production process at industrial level.

Technology for sugar cane juice

If all things go well, the Negros province of the Philippines will have its first canned sugarcane juice sold in the market in the next few years. “We have the technology to do it,” said Senior Science and Technology Research Specialist Ms. Ma. Elsa Falco of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), during a recent meeting of the Visayas Technology Forum of the DOST-Technology Resource Centre (TRC). Ms. Falco said the standard preparation for making fruit juices is also applicable in making sugar cane juice, with some modifications. She said that the process DOST developed is a proven one that delivered good results.

A flavonoid beverage composition

In Germany, Eckes-Granini Group GmbH and four inventors have applied for patenting a beverage comprising flavonoids, phenolic acids and water. The total polyphenol content of the beverage, determined according to the FoHn method and expressed as catechin equivalent, is at least 2.5 g/l and the trolox equivalent antioxidative capacity (TEAC) is at least 20 mmol/l, and the beverage has a specific gravity of 8° to 20° Brix.

An object of the present invention is the provision of a beverage which combines a high content of beneficial polyphenols resulting in an increased health effect with a pleasant taste. The inventors have found that a beverage comprising a combination of certain polyphenols and having a high total polyphenol content and a high TEAC can improve the vascular function (vascular dilatation capacity). In addition, it has been found that the beverage can have a positive influence on cellular alteration and anti-inflammatory and oxidative stress properties. Contact: Eckes-Granini Group GmbH, Ludwig-Eckes-Allee 6, 55268 Nieder-Olm, Germany.


‘Natural’ protection for frying oil

A new processing aid from Vitiva, Slovenia, is reported to double the shelf-life of frying oils without changing the taste or smell of the final product. The company’s system works by reducing the formation of polar compounds in frying oil, and by protecting it from oxidation and hydrolysis. Vitiva said its formulation contains a special grade rosemary extract with an emulsifier. “Rosemary extract is heat-stable in high temperatures and therefore perform well in these vigorous conditions,” it said.

Frying oil deteriorates owing to high frying temperatures, and water, air and other compounds that are present in fried food. Hydrolysis, oxidation, polymerization, isomerization and cyclization are common chemical reactions in frying oil that produce both volatile and non-volatile compounds. These products affect the functional and nutritional quality of frying oil and hence, also change the taste and odour of fried food. Adding Vitiva’s SyneRox HT Oxidation Management System to fresh frying oil can help extend shelf-life by up to 100 per cent, depending on the oil type. It functions by significantly reducing the polar compounds formation and protecting the oil against oxidation and hydrolysis.

One of the key benefits of its SyneRox HT formulation is its clean label and easy application. The liquid, ‘all-natural’ formulation is applied in the frying oil preparing tank. The protection system of the frying oil does not pass on to the final product, so it is used only as a processing aid. The formulation is considered a natural flavour in the United States and Europe. It also has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status in the United States.

Intelligent shelf-life indicator

A new intelligent technology, which gives a running countdown of a product’s shelf-life through time and temperature data analyses, could replace traditional ‘use by’ dates on food labels, claims TimeTemp, the Norwegian company spearheading the new development. The innovative shelf-life indicator is able to more precisely measure the freshness of food items as they pass through the supply chain from factory to consumer, and could lead to a significant reduction in the amount of waste produce.

Food processors have little control over the temperatures their goods are exposed to throughout the value chain. Consequently, they often mark their products with a shorter shelf-life as a precaution, which leads to a lot of edible food being thrown away. To address this issue, TimeTemp developed the innovative device, which is a small self-adhesive label attached to food products. It contains a range of non-toxic chemicals that react and change colour according to time and temperature. The chemical reaction is activated at the packaging line of the food producer and follows each item from production to consumer. The reaction shows the time left before expiration of that product in accordance with the actual degradation of the food item – which is illustrated and in an easy-to-read graphical format.

The intelligent packaging technology is applicable to all products where quality and lifespan depend on time and temperature variables during storage, as well as items where quality depends on maturity and ageing. Items such as meat, poultry, dairy and even bakery products will potentially benefit from using the technology. The company has produced a prototype of the device and hopes to bring a finished product to market sometime in 2011.

Egg cooling to lessen Salmonella illnesses

Cooling of eggs after they are laid greatly reduces the ability of Salmonella to grow inside eggs. Current industry procedures, however, could take as long as six days to cool eggs to 7°C, the temperature at which Salmonella can no longer grow. The eggs can be more than 37°C after washing and packaging in cartons. Thirty dozen eggs are then packed in a case, and 30 cases are stacked onto pallets and placed in refrigerated coolers. The eggs in the middle of the pallet could take up to 142 hours to cool to 7°C. “In reality, some eggs don’t cool to 45 degrees until they are in the refrigerator in your home,” says Dr. Kevin Keener, an associate professor of food science at Purdue University, the United States. Scientists estimate that one in every 20,000 eggs has Salmonella naturally inside, he said. A rapid egg cooling technology that he developed takes just 2-5 minutes to cool the eggs and thus reduce outbreaks of Salmonella-related illnesses.

Dr. Keener’s technology employs carbon dioxide (CO2) “snow” to rapidly lower the eggs’ temperature. Eggs are placed in a cooling chamber and CO2 gas at about –79°C is generated. The cold gas circulated around the eggs forms a thin layer of ice inside the eggshell. After treatment, the ice layer melts and quickly lowers an egg’s internal temperature to below 7°C. The eggshell does not crack during this process because it can resist expansion from a thin ice layer. Previous studies have shown the cooling treatment would increase shelf-life by about four weeks. Contact: Dr. Kevin Keener, Associate Professor, Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States of America. Tel: +1 (765) 494 6648; E-mail:

Better insect control in grains

Aeration – blowing ambient air through stored grain – has been used for decades to maintain the quality of grains by keeping it cool, as well as to manage stored insect pests. But few recent studies have examined whether it is better to air the grains from above or below as a means of using temperatures of 15.5°C or below to control insects.

To find out, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist Dr. Frank Arthur and agricultural engineer Dr. Mark Casada did experiments with storage bins whose grain masses were cooled with either pressure aeration (using fans to push ambient air from the bottom of the bin upwards) or suction aeration (reversing the fans to pull air from the top downwards). Both researchers work at the Centre for Grain and Animal Health Research of USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Dr. Arthur and Dr. Casada conducted two eight-month trials using six metal storage bins with perforated floors and storage capacities of 44 m3 of wheat. Stored insects examined in the study were rusty grain beetles, foreign grain beetles, hairy fungus beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, red flour beetles, rice weevils and lesser grain borers. The data showed that, during summer, suction aeration cooled the stored wheat’s upper portion (“surface zone”) more quickly than pressure aeration, and that the difference correlated to fewer insect pests. Suction aeration’s rapid cooling of the grain’s surface zone is advantageous because that is where insects initially infest the grain after flying in from outside, according to Arthur. An expected benefit of using suction aeration is reduced reliance on the fumigant phosphine to control insects.

New method keeps olives fresh and tasty

Seven years ago in California, the United States, an olive and almond grower teamed up with a chemistry professor from California State University to create an organic home olive preservative. The goal was to take the bitterness out of olives, but retain firmness, colour and texture for an extended period. Mr. Merritt Erickson, the grower, and Dr. Jim Postma, the professor, accomplished their goal, but they stumbled on something that has more uses than a home olive preservative. Sodium benzoate and vinegar are often used by olive processing plants to temporarily preserve olives when processing plants get backed up during harvest. But home-curing of olives gives them a shelf-life of just about a month. “We wanted to find a way for retail stores to be able to keep olives firm, fresh and green,” Mr. Erickson says.

Initially, Dr. Postma suggested testing ascorbic acid because its general antioxidant properties are similar to those in sodium benzoate. The results from the ascorbic acid were their best bet. Once a fully functioning formula was found, the product was sent to the California Food and Safety Branch of the state Department of Food and Agriculture for testing.

During that testing, they found that the product surpassed the requirements of the state and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their product received certification from both state as well as federal agencies to be used as a food preservative. Subsequently, the new preservative packing was commercialized.


Transparent HIPS for food packaging applications

Styron LLC, headquartered in the United States, has introduced “Styron” C-tech transparent high impact polystyrene (HIPS) for food packaging converters in Europe. The new resin developed offers converters the opportunity to combine the properties of Styron’s established “A-tech” range with high transparency and high gloss. C-tech HIPS can be used in all types of rigid food packaging applications and has been introduced into the bakery and delicatessen market through bi-oriented polystyrene (BOPS) sheet extrusion, where its processability and gloss combine with low odour and taste levels to improve on traditional transparent resin blends.

Packaging for high-pressure thermal processing

The commercialization of foods processed by high pressure thermal sterilization (HPTS) could soon be possible, with new research by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia, showing that some commercially available packaging materials are able to withstand the vigorous conditions of the technology. Lead researcher Dr. Michelle Bull at CSIRO’s Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences says the technology has the potential to improve the quality of processed foods.

HPT processing with reduced thermal exposure of the food could deliver quality benefits to a range of processed foods, Dr. Bull said. HPTS involves applying high pressures (400-800 MPa) to foods at elevated temperatures (up to 130°C) to render foods commercially sterile. Dr. Bull and her team analysed the effects of HPTS on 11 commercially available packaging materials consisting of vapour-deposited silicon and aluminium oxide, orientated nylon/polyamide, aluminium foil or PVDC-methyl acrylate-based films. Barrier properties such as seal integrity, oxygen and water vapour transmission rates of each film were analysed by Dr. Bull’s team. The results showed that all packaging materials experienced cosmetic deformation on the outer surfaces after exposure to HPTS. Only the barrier properties of the packaging materials consisting of aluminium foil or PVDC-methyl acrylate films were not significantly affected. However, the development of even small delamination spots on the latter two films could deem them unsuitable packaging options for foods processed by HPTS. The scientists therefore felt that more research was needed before the commercialization of foods processed by HPTS would be possible.

PLA to take the heat in hot-fill applications

In the United States, researchers are claiming a breakthrough that could boost the heat resistance of polylactic acid (PLA) sufficiently, allowing it to be used in hundreds of new packaging applications. The team from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and private company Lapol said they have created a modifying system that could see PLA used in hot-filled applications across the food and beverage industry.

As the bioplastic PLA has a lower heat tolerance than some petroleum-based plastics, it gets excluded from some applications, explained the research team consisting of ARS chemist Dr. William J. Orts, and Dr. Allison Flynn and Dr. Lennard F. Torres from Lapol. To raise PLA to its heat deflection temperature, the scientists developed a temperature deflection modifier that significantly boosts its heat resistance properties. The modifier is said to be more than 90 per cent corn based and fully biodegradable. Preliminary tests indicate that, when blended with PLA, the modifier can raise the bioplastic’s heat-deflection temperature by at least 10°C. With further research and development, the heat modifier might make it possible for PLA to be used for the manufacture of hundreds of products that currently can’t typically be made with this bioplastic. The modified corn-based PLA could be used for food and beverage containers that are hot-filled – loaded at the processors while the product is still hot from pasteurization.

Fill-seal machine for powders

Oystar Hassia India, a fully owned subsidiary of Oystar Holding of Germany, has launched the Flexi Bag 180TC filling and sealing machine that can pack milk powders, spices, snack foods, tea, coffee, agro-chemicals and sugar among other products. Flexi Bag 180TC strengthens packaging capability at higher speeds. It can pack products in flexible bags with twin widths of 60 mm to 180 mm in twin-lane version to achieve speeds up to 200 bags per minute.

Carton pack cuts down CO2

SIG Combibloc, part of the New Zealand-based Rank Group, has introduced combibloc EcoPlus, an aseptic carton pack for liquid food that reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) by 28 per cent compared with a 1-litre carton pack of the same format, thanks to a special new cardboard composite. This reduction in CO2 has now been confirmed by an independent, critically reviewed lifecycle assessment conducted by the Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung, Germany.

With Combibloc EcoPlus, the key factor in reducing CO2 generation is a new type of composite structure. A special unprocessed form of cardboard gives the Combibloc EcoPlus carton pack its rigidity. In the new composite structure, 82 per cent of the content is obtained from the renewable resource wood. The specific characteristics of the cardboard ensure the foods filled into the carton packs are protected from light. A special new, ultra-thin polyamide layer acts as a barrier to protect against flavour impairment and external odours. Added to this are fine internal and external layers of polyethylene. The internal polyethylene layer forms a liquid barrier for the product and the external layer keeps moisture out.

To begin with, Combibloc EcoPlus will be used in the long-life milk and dairy products segments, and later will include aseptic carton packs for non-carbonated juice products. As a first step, EcoPlus will be available for Combibloc Slimline (1,000 ml). The new carton packs can be processed using the standard filling machines from SIG Combibloc. All that is required is a one-off adjustment to the filling machine parameters.


Viscometers and rheometers for chocolate manufacture

Rheology Solutions Pty. Ltd., Australia, offers viscometers and rheometers for optimizing the production and properties of confectionery. The HAAKE Viscotester 550 is used to determine the flow behaviour and yield point of chocolate melts according to the guidelines of the expert commission of the Office International du Cacao, du Chocolat et de la Confiserie (OICCC), therefore influencing product characteristics such as melt and setting behaviour. It assists in the measurement of data and parameters that influence the quality of the chocolate. When used in conjunction with HAAKE RheoWin software, it is possible to graphically visualize the measured data.

An extensive range of rheometers is available for a wide variety of applications. With the RheoScope module for the HAAKE MARS Rheometer platform, structural examinations can be performed using optical microscopy at the same time as the rheological measurements. In this way, the melting behaviour of fat samples and crystal formation can be studied. A universal holder makes it possible to take measurements in original containers, such as jars of chocolate sauce. This eliminates the time-consuming process of pouring out samples and cleaning cups, and also preserves the material structures. Contact: Ms. Kaye Griffin, Rheology Solutions Pty. Limited, P.O. Box 754, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria 3340, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 5367 7477; Fax: +61 (3) 5367 6477; E-mail:; Website:

Centrifugal juice extractor

Jas enterprises, India, offers several models of centrifugal juice extractors for fruits and vegetables. The fruits or vegetables introduced into the machine’s chamber are cut to small shreds by spinning blades and sent to a screen basket that spins at the same speed as that of the cutting blades. The weight of the shredded material spinning at high speed creates a centrifugal force, which is high enough to pull the juice out of the plant material that strains against the screen. The juice is thus extracted, leaving behind the dry material, or pulp, within the screen basket. The shredding blades and strainer basket both spin at 3,000 rpm.

The pulp from the fruits and vegetables is not automatically ejected in one type. Therefore, the basket needs to be emptied when full with pulp. Optional basket filters make this clean-up task easy. In another type, the centrifugal juicer uses an angled strainer basket. Because of the angled basket, the pulp does not stay in the basket. The spinning plant material moves up the angled basket and the pulp gets ejected from the machine. The machine is available in four models, with 0.16 hp, 0.25 hp, 0.50 hp and 1 hp motors for simultaneously extracting 2, 4, 6 or 16 cups of juice, respectively. Contact: Jas Enterprises, 60, Shreenathji Estate, Panna Estate Road, Rakhial, Ahmedabad 380023, India. Tel: +91 (79) 2274 3454; Fax: +91 (79) 2274 5062; E-mail: admin@; Website:

Formula control and traceability system

The Vantage Formula Control and Traceability System from S.G. Systems, the United States, provides a direct interface with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to capture ingredient traceability information from real events that take place on the production floor. In addition to achieving tight production control, the Vantage Systems connect to the scales (three scales of differing capacities to each Vantage) to control the weighing process and regulate the exact amounts of ingredients used within the blends.

After each ingredient is weighed, labels are generated via mobile wireless network label printers to identify the ingredient lot number, name and the job that the ingredients relate to. This data is then captured at the mixer and validated by the ERP system. Contact: S.G. Systems, 7239 Envoy Court, Dallas 75247, United States of America. Tel: +1 (214) 819 9570; E-mail:; Website:


Cereal Grains: Assessing and Managing Quality

Cereal grains are essential to our dietary needs, as well as for animal feeding and for industrial processing. Consumer needs can only be met by managing quality at all stages of the grain chain. This publication provides a convenient and comprehensive overview of academic research and industry best practice in the subject area. After an initial chapter introducing the themes of the book, further chapters in Part one review cereal grain morphology and composition and the diversity of uses of cereal grains. Chapters in Part two convey the characteristics and quality requirements of particular cereals, including wheat, rye, corn and rice. The use of analytical methods at different stages of the value-addition chain is the subject of Part three. The final section in the book reviews factors affecting grain quality such as breeding, storage and grain processing, and also possible future developments.

Contact: Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Abington Hall, Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AH, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1223) 891358; Fax: +44 (1223) 893694; E-mail:

Advances in Food and Nutrition Research

This book recognizes the integral relationship between the food and nutritional sciences and brings together outstanding and comprehensive reviews that highlight this relationship. Contributions detail scientific developments in the broad areas of food science and nutrition and are meant to provide those in academia and industry with the latest information on emerging research in these constantly evolving sciences.

Contact: Elsevier Inc., #3251 Riverport Line, Maryland Heights, MO 63043, United States of America. Tel: +1 (314) 453 7010; Fax: +1 (314) 453 7095; E-mail:


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