Food is protected from external factors, masking unpleasant tastes or smells, besides allowing controlled release of compound.
SPAIN – More and more consumers nowadays prefer eating healthy, thus strengthening their fitness and immune system. In this regard, broccoli is highly valued for its chemopreventive effects, which are attributed to its composition of glucosinolate, flavonoids, carotenoids, ascorbic acid and amino acids. Like other foods, these substances are easily degraded by the action of oxygen, thus reducing their potential health benefits.
That is why, researchers from the University of Extremadura (UEX) in collaboration with the Center for Scientific and Technological Research of Extremadura (CICYTEX-INTAEX) conducted a study that evaluated the advantages of microencapsulation of food, broccoli specifically. They looked at reactivity to factors such as water, oxygen or light and the controlled release of the compound when it has been encapsulated.
Patricia Calvo, researcher at the Agri-food Technological Institute (INTAEX) integrated into the CICYTEX, and one of the study’s authors, said that microencapsulation in the food industry is a process by which small particles or droplets of a particular food are surrounded by a layer of material of a different nature to result in small capsules, thus creating a barrier between the substance contained in the microcapsule and the environment.
Thus, the food is protected from external factors, masking flavors or odors which can be unpleasant, and allows controlled release of the compound.
In this work, they used broccoli as a model for its strong smell when cooking, which allowed seeing how this microencapsulation technology works against volatility, according to Francisco Sanchez researcher INTAEX.
In this case, Maria Josefa Bernalte, professor at the School of Agricultural Engineering of the UEX, and member of the team explained that the microcapsules generated from broccoli have a size around 100 microns, thus you can easily add to different foods such as soups or closed purees and it also masks the odor of the product formulations while preserving its beneficial properties.
In the end, the objective is achieved with this technique is to protect the encapsulated compound of possible oxidations caused by the aggression of the physical environment.