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Project for a cabbage-broccoli juice chain

"We're studying an innovative product derived from the extraction of cabbage-broccoli (Brassicacia Oleracea) juice as part of a Community project on the transfer of innovation in the agricultural sector envisaged by the Europe 2020 strategy."

"I grew up in Puglia where this crop has to deal with the well-known difficulties of the fresh produce market. I believe that this product, if processed correctly, could become the king of green functional juices thanks to its high nutritional and curative properties," explains Rocco Antonio Gentile (in the photo below), owner of family business Mic Power Energy.

"An excellent product doesn't only come from labs with state-of-the-art equipment! Processing a product at a temperature that exceeds 54°C means mainly destroying enzyme activity. Between 65° and 90°C, almost all pathogen and non-pathogen microorganisms found in food are destroyed. This is why we want to work on 'alive' juices, juices that reach the shelves with intact nutritional properties."

Basically, if it's impossible to avoid pasteurization at a high temperature, we need to bear in mind that cooked food is dead food, as high temperatures destroy food properties.

Cabbage-broccoli could be one of the crops of leading economic importance not only for their specific weight within the productive system, but also due to their health and curative properties.

 Juice extractor.

"The project we are working on with prof. Fulvio Mattivi, professor of Food Chemistry at the University of Trento, aims at promoting product and process innovation for a healthy chain."

Cabbage-broccoli have significant anti-oxidant properties, especially when it comes to compounds part of the isothiocyanate and indole groups. The objective is to increase product usage by extracting 100% juice particularly rich in mineral salts (calcium, iron, phosphorous and potassium, vitamins C, B1 and B2 and mainly polyphenolic compounds."

Few people know that cabbage-broccoli have double the amount of vitamin C of an orange (see chart above). In addition, scientific research has proven that the sulforaphane contained prevents the formation of carcinogenic cells especially when it comes to intestine, lung, prostate and breast cancer.


Methods to extract the juice
Two technologies can be used to obtain juice: centrifugation and extraction. 

"Basically a centrifuge is a sort of grater that spins quickly (3,000/10,000 spins per minute) to separate the solid part from the liquid part through a pierced screen. The juice is almost completely free of the fibrous fraction, including the water-soluble one. In addition, due to the attrition and therefore heat generated (above 50°C), we have a lower content of vital substances, including the absolute destruction of the enzymes."

Enzymes, in fact, lose their vitality when temperature exceeds 40°C, just like thermolabile and thermosensitive vitamins lose their effectiveness above 50°C. When processing raw material, the typical foam depends on the excessive speed, as air is introduced affecting the effectiveness of anti-oxidants.

Above and below: waste fiber deriving from the extraction process.

An extractor is a machine that can extract juice from fruit and vegetables maintaining the nutrients - enzymes, vitamin complexes and mineral salts - unaltered. It is basically a cold-press that therefore does not generate heat safeguarding organoleptic properties.

Juice obtained through cold-extraction.

An extractor, unlike a centrifuge, has no blades but a large screw rotating inside a pierced cone screen. The screw presses the product delicately without stressing the raw material.

"The juice is therefore rich in enzymes and water-soluble fibers with intact vitamins and mineral salts. The sugar will be modulated in the blood without creating glycemic peaks thanks to the presence of water-soluble fibers and water of an organic quality that can hydrate and nourish the human organism."

Rocco Antonio Gentile 
Cell.: 391 1608619 

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