The beetroot and beetroot juice consumption has been found to confer a number of short terms human health benefits due to naturally occurring actives. Unfortunately beetroot is also naturally rich in oxalate a known anti-nutrient that could cause adverse health effects ranging from mild stomach irritation up to kidney failure in long terms consumption and severe cases of poisoning. Furthermore, beetroot juice is also naturally rich in sugars that have no significant contribution in any of the positive reported human health benefits. On the contrary, sugars significantly increase the caloric content of the juice something that presently is negatively viewed from the European consumers.
In the present proposal we aim to develop a process for generating a Sugar- and Oxalate-Free Beetroot Juice (SOFBJ) without any compromise on its human health benefits. To this effect the process development part of the project will be coupled with rigorous assessment of relevant human health benefits. The production and characterization of SOFBJ will open the way for utilizing beetroot juice as broad range functional ingredient in the food industry. The existence of such ingredient will allow generation of functional foods with a variety of benefits for consumers such as anti-hypertensive, increased mental acuity and sport performance.
The project constitutes an excellent training opportunity for the nominated fellow as he will expand his skills in areas that has not had the opportunity to acquire training so far. Exposure to such a multidisciplinary project combining Food Science Chemical Engineering and Human Nutrition is very advantageous for being effective in Functional Ingredients/Foods research. Acknowledging the multidisciplinary nature of the research programme a cross-functional project team of experts will be also in place throughout the project.
Significant uplifting of the fellows employability in either industrial R&D or Academia is expected.
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