Malaysian researcher makes spinach safe to eat for infants

Malaysian researcher Dr Noor Liyana Yusof is fast becoming an internet phenomenon, thanks to the research findings from her PhD thesis, which made headlines in Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan earlier this month.

Noor Liyana, 30, who recently completed her doctoral studies in food technology at Lund University in Sweden, sought for a way to make spinach safe to be consumed by young children, particularly infants.

Spinach is a nutritious vegetable, but is not recommended for infants because of its nitrate content. Noor Liyana's thesis - Vacuum Impregnation of Spinach Tissue: Metabolic Consequences and their Potential Industrial Applications - presents a simple method capable of reducing the nitrate content by up to 70 per cent.

Nitrate is a common nutrient for plants and is therefore also present in other leafy green vegetables, such as arugula and chard. Nitrate can be converted into toxic substances when processed in our bodies which reduce the transport of oxygen, especially in infants.

Noor Liyana developed a method via the use of sugar and vacuum, which modifies the metabolism in the spinach leaves in such a way that nitrate is broken down.


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