Institute of Food Research, NARO

New food material by blending nata de coco and β-glucan

-Expanding the scope of application by giving new properties to food powders-

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has developed a new food material (Nata puree) by blending and crushing nata de coco and (1-3) (1-4) -β-glucan contained in barley. Nata puree adds new physical properties and processing properties to powders derived from agricultural products and improves the binding capacity and dispersibility of paste foods. This technology expands the scope of application of unused resources such as surplus and non-standard agricultural products to 3D printed foods, etc., and contributes to the reduction of food loss.


Overview

Drying and powdering of food suppresses spoilage and deterioration while retaining nutrition and enables long-term storage. Moreover, it eliminates quality variations and gives processing reproducibility by weighing. Therefore, it has been incorporated in daily cooking with wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes since ancient times. Recently, in order to reduce food loss, efforts to pulverize surplus and non-standard agricultural products such as vegetables and fruits with high depletion rate and store them for a long period of time have been reported. However, since pulverization eliminates the unique texture of agricultural products and foods, its use is limited in many cases.
NARO has developed a new material "Nata puree" to give new texture and other characteristics to powders derived from agricultural products. Until now, expensive crushing equipment has been required to crush cellulose gel known as nata de coco. However, by coexisting water-soluble polysaccharides such as (1-3)(1-4) -β-glucan (hereinafter, referred as β-glucan) with nata de coco, it has become possible to get crushed material even with a household blender. Barley extract can be used instead of purified β-glucan.
Nata puree which is composed of cellulose and β-glucan, are routinely eaten as water-insoluble and water-soluble dietary fiber, respectively. By blending these and adding them to food as Nata puree, an appropriate fibrous texture can be obtained. Nata puree affects the processability of food powders mainly through two types of interactions. One is the binding action of powder when preparing the paste, which makes the powder hard and easier to put together to produce molded foods with new shapes and characteristics and improves the molding suitability with a 3D food printer. At the same time, it suppresses adhesion to cooking utensils. The other is an action that stably disperses the powders that sink in water, such as starch, in suspensions. This action, for example, by giving the gelling agent powder high dispersibility, arranging the suspension in the form of a sheet, and laser-heating it in a regioselective manner, advanced food design is possible.
In the future, we will elucidate the effect of adding Nata puree to various agricultural powders and promote efforts to popularize it at cooking and processing sites. Also, in order to increase the value of unused resources such as surplus and non-standard agricultural products and by-products during vegetable processing, we will consider the applicability of Nata puree to the next-generation food manufacturing process. Thereby we aim to create a new industry that realizes the provision of new foods that are delicious and contribute to health and the reduction of food loss.


Reference Information

TOKUYASU Ken, YAMAGISHI Kenji, MATSUKI Junko, NEI Daisuke, SASAKI Tomoko, and IKE Masakazu: "Nata puree," a novel food material for upgrading vegetable powders, made by bacterial cellulose gel disintegration in the presence of (1,3)(1,4)-β-glucan. Journal of Applied Glycoscience, doi:10.5458/jag.jag.JAG-2021_0009


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