Brewing up something new
Recent discoveries about proteins in beer may help brewers develop new beers.

Italian researchers have reported the most comprehensive evaluation of beer’s proteome, residual proteins that survive the brewing process and are involved in the formation, texture, and stability of beer’s foamy head. They identified 20 proteins from barley, two proteins from corn, and 42 proteins from yeast (40 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one from S. bayanus, and one from S. pastorianus). Previous studies noted by the researchers identified 12 proteins.

Brewers can use the information about the proteins when selecting barley cultivars that might improve the quality of foam or when formulating fermentation processes to minimize the release of yeast proteins and affect the flavor of the beer.

The study, “Les Maîtres de l’Orge: The Proteome Content of Your Beer Mug,” appeared in the Oct. 1, 2010, issue of Journal of Proteome Research.

Recovering aroma compounds
Grinding coffee with cold water and then extracting with hot water in a closed system yielded a greater amount of aroma compounds than conventionally grinding coffee or grinding coffee with hot water in an open system, reported researchers at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland.

They said that the release of volatile aroma compounds during grinding of coffee beans is related to the internal carbon dioxide pressure, and wet grinding with cold water minimized the loss of aroma compounds by trapping them in water. On the other hand, using hot water for wet grinding resulted in losses of aroma compounds because of the prolonged exposure to heat. Aroma recovery was measured using solid phase microextraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

The study, titled “Aroma Recovery from Roasted Coffee by Wet Grinding,” appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Journal of Food Science.

Extending shelf life of blueberries
Applying edible coatings to prewashed blueberries may help to extend their shelf life, reported Oregon State University researchers, who propose that the technique may open up new markets for the sale of blueberries.

Fresh untreated, unwashed blueberries have a shelf life of one to eight weeks, depending on the variety, ripeness at harvest, method of harvest, presence of disease, and storage conditions. Washing the blueberries before packing and storing them can increase deterioration.

The researchers conducted two years of trials in which they washed fresh blueberries with chlorinated water, dipped them in one of five different edible coatings, and placed them in storage containers. The coatings were Semperfresh™, a sucrose ester; acid-soluble chitosan (chitosan is derived from chitin, a substance found in the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans); water-soluble chitosan; calcium caseinate; and sodium alginate, a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of brown algae.

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They evaluated the quality of the blueberries after one week of storage at 2°C followed by 15 days of storage at 20°C. The results showed that the technique helped to maintain the quality of the blueberries and could be used to develop ready-to-eat fresh blueberries, reported the researchers.

“Use of appropriate coatings and application methods delays fruit dehydration or wrinkling in washed berries,” said Bernadine Strik, a coauthor on the study and a professor in OSU’s Department of Horticulture. “This opens up a whole new possible market sector for pre-washed blueberry fruit. Considering the health benefits of blueberries, this is a positive step for consumers and the industry.”

The study, “Effect of Edible Coatings on the Quality of Fresh Blueberries (Duke and Elliott) Under Commercial Storage Conditions,” appeared online early in Postharvest Biology and Technology, doi: 10.1016/j. postharvbio.2010.08.006.

Increasing demand for coffee
Americans age 55 and older are the fastest-growing segment of coffee drinkers, but if manufacturers want to ensure long-term growth in the coffee category, they will need to attract younger consumers, according to market research firm Mintel.

Only 27% of 18–24-year-olds drink coffee on a daily basis, and of those who drink coffee, 40% prefer sweetened coffee; 22% of 45–54-year-olds who drink coffee prefer sweetened coffee.

“Young adults are somewhat more likely than over-55s to associate negative health consequences with coffee consumption,” said Bill Patterson, Senior Analyst at Mintel. “Among young adults in particular, understanding the choice between energy drinks and coffee needs significant marketing focus. If coffee companies can’t convert these younger drinkers to everyday users, long-term growth may suffer.”

Something else that manufacturers need to keep in mind is that younger consumers like to visit cafés to purchase coffee, so offering products similar to those found in coffee cafés that can be prepared at home or in the office might be popular with those ages 18–24, added Patterson.

Bottled teas low in polyphenols
Bottled tea beverages may contain fewer polyphenols than brewed tea, reported scientists at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The amounts of polyphenols in some of these beverages are so small that consumers would have to drink 20 bottles just to consume the polyphenols found in one cup of tea, they added.

Using high-performance liquid chromatography, the researchers measured the polyphenol content of six brands of 16-oz bottled tea beverages available in supermarkets. They found that three contained what the researchers called “virtually no” polyphenols and the other three contained amounts that may not be enough to afford health benefits. Something else that consumers need to keep in mind is that many of the bottled tea beverages contain large amounts of sugar.

Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world, second only to water. The researchers hope that their study urges others to conduct additional studies and gives manufacturers the tools to provide consumers with better nutritional information, particularly about the polyphenol content of their beverages.

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Byproducts have AO potential
Fresh-cut fruit byproducts such as seeds and peels contain high amounts of phenolics compounds with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and could be used as natural additives to enrich the fruit with additional antioxidants and to add antimicrobial protection, according to researchers with Centro de Investigación en Alimentación, Sonora, Mexico.

They explained that, in some cases, the byproducts have antioxidant amounts similar to or greater than the amounts in the final freshcut produce product. To use the waste products as an alternative to conventional preservatives and antimicrobials, the researchers suggest reviewing international regulations on the use of plant extracts as food additives, evaluating the economic feasibility of producing bioactive extracts from fresh-cut byproducts, optimizing and scaling up the extraction procedures of bioactive compounds, and evaluating the effects of the extraction procedures on the antioxidant composition and activity of the extracts.

The study, “Antioxidant Enrichment and Antimicrobial Protection of Fresh-Cut Fruits Using Their Own Byproducts: Looking for Integral Exploitation,” appeared in the October 2010 issue of Journal of Food Science.

What’s new with food companies
• AGD Nutrition has selected Viachem Ltd. to be the exclusive North American channel-to-market for its line of vitamin A products.

• Allied Blending & Ingredients will expand its manufacturing facility in Keokuk, Iowa, by more than 3,900 sq ft.

• The Food and Drug Administration has issued a no objection letter on the GRAS status of Bucon NutraScience Corp.’s Puratein® and Supertein™ canola protein isolates.

Gadot Biochemical Industries has received Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 18001:2007 certification.

Manitoba Harvest has partnered with Pukka Herbs to distribute hemp foods in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Polyphenolics has won the 2010 North American Product Differentiation Excellence of the Year Award in the grape seed extracts markets from Frost & Sullivan.

SensoryEffects has acquired Juice Pac Inc.

Silliker will provide laboratory, technical, and information services to restaurants as part of the National Restaurant Association’s nutrition awareness efforts.

• The European Food Safety Authority has considered Stratum Nutrition’s ARTINIA™ chi-tin-glucan as safe as a food ingredient.

SunOpta Fruit Group and Clearwater Country Foods have agreed to market and distribute Garden Green Garbanzo™.

by Karen Nachay,
Associate Editor
[email protected]