A research project carried out by VTT Biotechnology and the University of Helsinki has found that cloudberries and raspberries contain a phenol, ellagic tannin, that inhibits the growth of intestinal bacteria.
The study concerned commercially grown Finnish berries, particularly cloudberry and raspberry. One of the substances inhibiting growth of harmful intestinal bacteria and pathogens is a complex phenolic polymer, ellagic tannin, found in the berries. Other berries and fruit contain only small quantities of ellagic tannin. "We were especially surprised and excited by the observation that probiotics that are beneficial for digestion are not sensitive to the berries, but harmful bacteria are. Consequently, the berries may inhibit the activity of harmful bacteria. The antimicrobial qualities of the berries are also well preserved with e.g. freezing," says the project director, Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä of VTT Biotechnology.
Thus, possible examples of derivatives from the berries might be berry powder to help travellers tummy, or berry extract as an added preservative for marinades. During the first three years, the research project collaborated with the food industry. Pharmaceutical and health food industries have joined later. Around ten businesses in all have participated in the project.
Mira Banerjee | alfa
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