Prof Zhou Weibiao, Department of Chemistry, National University of Singapore
Juicing is a potential solution to the problem of food wastage globally. Local farms produce vegetables from the Brassica family that are consumed frequently in Asia, and which are also potentially high in bioactive compounds.
However, the impact of juicing on these particular compounds is not fully understood. Furthermore, sterilisation and pasteurisation of vegetable products are very challenging and vegetable products may also be contaminated with bacterial foodborne pathogens, which is capable of leading to foodborne disease outbreaks. Heat treatments that are typically used to extend shelf life tend to destroy heat-sensitive nutrients and cause undesirable quality changes. High pressure processing (HPP), which is an innovative nonthermal pasteurisation process, is an attractive alternative.
This project aims to characterise the nutritional profile of juices produced from several locally-produced vegetables and to study the effects of high-pressure processing (HPP). As an innovative non-thermal processing technique, HPP is potentially more beneficial than the widely-practised thermal processing techniques, in retaining the nutritional quality of the juices and inactivating spoilage and pathogenic foodborne bacteria commonly implicated in foodborne outbreaks.
Findings from this project will be critical to enabling Singapore farms to convert excessive raw produce into high value-added food products of superb nutritional quality, by adopting cutting-edge technologies, while ensuring the safety of such produced food products.