Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ginseng just got better -- not as bitter

07.12.2010
University of Illinois scientists have learned to mask the bitterness of ginseng, a common ingredient of energy drinks.

"Consumers like to see ginseng on a product's ingredient list because studies show that it improves memory, enhances libido and sexual performance, boosts immunity, and alleviates diabetes. But the very compounds that make ginseng good for you also make it taste bitter," said Soo-Yeun Lee, a U of I associate professor of food science and human nutrition.

In an earlier study, Lee and U of I professor of food chemistry Shelly J. Schmidt found that ginseng contributes more to the bitter perception in energy drinks than caffeine, an indispensable component of these beverages and the very compound that sensory scientists use as their reference for bitter perception.

"Ginseng has over 30 bitter compounds, and scientists still don't know which compound or group of compounds is responsible for the bitter taste," Lee said.

While experimenting with five possible solutions to ginseng's bitterness problem, they discovered that cyclodextrins—hydrophobic compounds made of glucose molecules that occur in a ring form—were able to capture the bitter flavor compounds and reduce bitterness by more than half.

Lauren Tamamoto, a graduate student who worked on the study, assembled a group of 13 non-smokers who also lacked allergies that would affect their bitter perception. Panelists had to be able to detect a chemical called 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil (PROP) on a piece of filter paper (some people can, some people can't) and also pass basic taste tests for sweet, sour, bitter, and salty perceptions. They then participated in 12 training sessions and taste-tested 84 samples, rating each on a 16-point scale.

The researchers used the panelists to test these potentially effective bitterness-reducing treatments:

adding a related complementary flavor (in this case, citrus) as a sensory distraction

incorporating a bitterness blocking agent that neutralizes the taste buds

using ingredient interaction (the scientists added large amounts of taurine because research indicated that it might be useful in blocking bitterness)

utilizing an enzyme that would break down the peptide bonds of bitter components

experimenting with complexation, or the use of cyclodextrins to form inclusion complexes with the bitter compounds, which masks the bitter taste

"Cyclodextrins were by far the most effective method of reducing the bitterness of ginseng solutions. We also found that gamma-cyclodextrins were more successful than beta-cyclodextrins and were more cost-effective," Schmidt said.

These compounds have been used to mask bitterness before, but not at the level of ginseng used in a typical energy drink, she said.

Lee and Schmidt intend to continue studying ginseng's bitterness compounds to learn which are most responsible for producing objectionable flavors, and to gain insight into exactly how these compounds interact with cyclodextrins.

That knowledge would facilitate the use of ginseng as a functional ingredient in energy drinks and allow their manufacturers to add health benefits to the beverages beyond general nutrition and the calories they provide, Lee said.

"The U.S. energy drink industry is expected to reach $19.7 billion in sales by 2013, even though these beverages often have a medicinal taste because of their functional ingredients. If we can create more palatable products, manufacturers will be able to expand this market even further.

"But, beyond that, this new method for masking bitterness in ginseng gives food scientists an opportunity to improve the health of consumers," she said.

The study was published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Food Science. Lee, Schmidt, and Tamamoto were co-authors of the paper.

Phyllis Picklesimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>