Scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have discovered a plant-based food preservative which they claim is more effective than artificial preservatives.
The organic preservative comprises a naturally occurring substance known as flavonoids, a group of phytonutrients found in almost all fruits and vegetables.
The flavonoids created by NTU scientists have strong anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties – two key traits of preservatives that inhibit bacterial growth and keep food fresher for longer.
In tests carried out on meat and fruit juice samples, the organic preservative kept its samples fresh for two days without refrigeration, while other food samples with artificial preservatives succumbed to bacteria contamination “within six hours”.
The NTU research team was led by professor William Chen, director of NTU’s Food Science & Technology programme. The team is already in talks with multinational companies to further develop the new food preservative.
Chem said: “This organic food preservative is derived from plants and produced from food grade microbes, which means that it is 100% natural. It is also more effective than artificial preservatives and does not require any further processing to keep food fresh.
“This may open new doors in food preservation technologies, providing a low-cost solution for industries, which could, in turn, encourage a sustainable food production system that produces healthier food that stays fresh longer.”
Flavonoids are naturally occurring chemicals in plants which are responsible for defending plants against pathogens, herbivores and pests.
The researchers said that although flavonoids’ anti-microbial potential have been reported, they have not been used as a food preservative because they require further processing before they can mitigate bacteria.
The team’s findings were published last month in the scientific journal Food Chemistry.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
World Beverage Innovation Awards – NOW OPEN FOR ENTRIES!
The awards celebrate excellence and innovation across the global beverage industry.
Don’t miss out on having your innovations recognised on a global scale.
Deadline for entries 23 July – enter now!
Don’t get left behind
Start your free Foodbev magazine trial today and join thousands of fellow industry professionals in receiving food and drink trends direct to our business.
Click here to start your free trial