A team of researchers of the Universitat Politècnica de València have made a new persimmon milkshake with high antioxidant potential. Persimmons are an important source of antioxidant compounds due to their content of carotenoids and tannins. According to the tests developed in the laboratories, one of these shakes could contain the same quantity of carotenoids as a whole persimmon.
The key to making a drink with these properties is a technique used in fruit processing: high hydrostatic pressure (HHP). This technique increases the lifespan of persimmons and produces a new food with high nutritional value.
"HHP is a non-thermal technology that keeps the quality attributes of the persimmon and facilitates the extraction of bioactive compounds from cells, such as carotenoids and tannins, increasing its antioxidant potential," explains Amparo Quiles, researcher at the Group of Microstructure and Food Chemistry of the Universitat Politècnica de València.
Moreover, the application of high pressure techniques allows researchers to obtain a stable product, suitable for consumer requirements and even better than those made using other technniques like pasteurization.
Benefits of carotenoids
What´s more, according to the researchers, the inclusion of carotenoids in a diet can help to reduce risk of developing diseases such as certain types of cancer, heart disease or damage to vision, especially those related to an aging population.
Besides nutritional and functional benefits, the research developed in the UPV laboratories is particularly interesting to the industry from an economic point of view, since it would permit the market to have access to the product throughout the year. The key is again in the processing of the product by high pressure.
"The persimmon is a seasonal fruit that cannot be consumed throughout the year. This technique allows us to go beyond its seasonal nature and preserve all the properties of the product, so we can consume the fruit alone or as an ingredient of shakes like those we have made in our laboratories," says Amparo Quiles.
The work by researchers of the UPV has been published in Food & Function journal.
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