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Poland: Work underway for the development of fruit powders
The researcher was a scholarship recipient of the Polish edition of L'Oréal for Women and Science, organised in cooperation with the Polish Committee for UNESCO, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Fruit powders available today have between 30 and 60 percent fruit. The technology developed by Dr Michalska will increase this to 100 percent.
As Dr Michalska explains, the idea is to extend the seasonality of the fruit so that all its beneficial properties can be enjoyed throughout the entire year. Seasonal fruits are a source of many beneficial polyphenolic compounds, including antioxidants.
Processing them in the form of powder requires the removal of water, which cannot be done without the use of certain processing techniques. These traditionally cause the degradation of many valuable properties, but there are different drying methods that will help us protect these compounds to the greatest extent possible," explained the scientist from Olsztyn.
Fruit powders with the desired content of biologically active compounds won't only be a source of natural nutrients and vitamins, but also an alternative to the commonly used food additives or supplements.
At the moment, Dr Michalska is heading some pioneering research on pre-treatment and selection of suitable drying methods for popular fruits in Poland, namely apples, plums, blackcurrants, chokeberries and cranberries. In partnership with Europe's leading research centres, technology has been developed to obtain fruit powders with the desired content of biologically active compounds.
Dr Michalska's research also focuses on identifying harmful compounds that are created when processing the natural products into powders, as these are intended to contain as few harmful substances as possible, as well as as many compounds as possible with a beneficial effect on the immune system.
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