Author Archives: Hortalaska Berries

Fruit and Vegetable Waste That is Not Really Waste

Fruit and Vegetable Waste: Bioactive Compounds, Their Extraction, and Possible Utilization  Narashans Alok Sagar, Sunil Pareek, Sunil Sharma, Elhadi M. Yahia , and Maria Gloria Lobo 2018. Comprehensive reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Vol 00. Available online: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324170873_Fruit_and_Vegetable_Waste_Bioactive_Compounds_Their_Extraction_and_Possible_Utilization

Years ago when I was completing my PhD on lingonberries I learned quite a lot about fruit processing how even the steam created in the process of making lingonberry sauce was captured and “mined” for a whole host of volatile and aromatic compounds that were packaged and sold for use somewhere else in the food industry. This article is a fascinating review of even more modern techniques being used to extract bioactive compounds from what would otherwise be called food waste.  After the apple has been peeled and sliced, there is a tremendous waste stream that includes stems, peels, seeds and pulp that usually ends up in a compost pile or worse- buried in a landfill. “.. Apples generate 10.91% of seed and pulp as by-products, and 89.09% of final products during slicing.”  When you think about the tons of apple products made worldwide, that’s a lot of waste from a single fruit! Bananas yield 35% waste through their peel!

“Losses and waste occur during all phases of the supply and handling chain, including during harvesting, transport to packinghouses or markets, classification and grading, storage, marketing, processing, and at home before or after preparation. Losses occur throughout the supply chain from production throughout all postharvest stages before consumption.”

Although this article emphasizes tropical fruits, it is an eye opener as far as what is actually left behind after processing, and the technology being used to capture such things as dietary fiber, phenolic compounds, flavorings, aromas and more. Most fascinating is a list of fruits that are treated with microorganisms to release a whole rainbow of enzymes, organic acids, and proteins that are then packaged and used in other food products as stabilizers, agents to prevent browning in processed products. We often look at the food industry in a poor light, but food chemistry is far more complex than most people realize, and this is a great example of recycling and repurposing that has been happening for many years.

The article also describes methods by which this waste extraction happens. Such exotic processes as microwave-assisted extraction, pulsed electrical field extraction, enzyme assisted and liquid to liquid extraction seem so foreign but are part of a growing technology to harvest everything of value from the waste stream and make it useful. Pretty impressive! Of course, you could eat the entire apple- peels, seeds and all, but even that would not provide the valuable components liberated by the many extraction techniques.

 

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Optimum nutrient levels in soils and leaves of haskap, Lonicera caerulea

DETERMINATION OF SOIL AND PLANT NUTRIENT SUFFICIENCY LEVELS FOR HASKAP (LONICERA CAERULEA L.). 2018. Ekene Mark-Anthony Iheshiulo. Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia

 

Anyone interested in growing haskaps for berry production will be interested in this thesis from Halifax. Nova Scotia where Master’s student, Keene Mark-Anthony Iheshiulo attempted to find the optimum levels of soil nutrients and correlated that with tissue nutrient levels. This research is important because it gives growers and gardeners a good diagnostic tool for figuring out if nutrient deficiencies or excess exist. It provides a good marker for applying just the right levels of fertilizer in a season and avoiding wasteful applications of fertilizers. Theses are also great summaries of existing literature, and this one is no exception. It provides a nice overview of the haskap, the importance of macro and micro nutrients in fruit production, and soil and tissue testing.

Balanced nutrition is crucial for haskap (Lonicera caerulea L.) growth, productivity, and economically viable commercial production. However, there are no clearly established soil fertility and leaf tissue nutrient sufficiency levels. A field survey was conducted in 2015 and 2016 on 19 farms in Nova Scotia to identify optimal soil fertility and leaf tissue nutrient levels from 148 paired samples. Plant growth rate, leaf size and chlorophyll content were determined for the variety Indigo Gem after berry harvest in 2016. Using a boundary line approach, nutrient sufficiency levels in soil by Mehlich III extraction were 80-280 kg P2O5 ha-1, 260-570 kg K2O ha-1, 1300-4000 kg Ca ha-1, and 250-510 kg Mg ha-1, while leaf nutrient sufficiency ranges were 2.23-2.96.0% for N, 0.22-0.28% for P, 0.84-1.32% for K, 1.63-2.10% for Ca, and 0.14-0.50% for Mg. Further research is needed to validate fertility and leaf nutrient sufficiency ranges in relation to haskap yield 

The thesis is copyrighted and will not be shared here but is available online. http://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/73917/Iheshiulo-Ekene-MSc-AGR-April-2018.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y

Cloudberry phytonutrients change with season and cultivar

Seasonal and yearly variation of total polyphenols, total anthocyanins and ellagic acid in different clones of cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus L.) 2018. Anne Linn Hykkerud1, Eivind Uleberg, Espen Hansen, Marieke Vervoort, Jørgen Mølmann, Inger Martinussen   Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality 91, 96 – 102 (2018)

Scientists in Norway have done more than any others in cultivating the cloudberry, Rubus chamaemorus. A lot of research on field cultivation as well as cultivar selection have been done in that country. This study continues that research and studies the levels of two phytonutrients: ellagic acid (the most abundant in cloudberry) and total anthocyanin. They examined the content of the berries in four clones, ‘Fjordgull’, ‘Fjellgull’, ‘102’ and ‘306’ growing in  Tromsø 69°39’N 18°57’E.

Interestingly the anthocyanin which are found in small quantities, varied significantly by the seasonal weather patterns. Anthocyanin levels were greatest in cool seasons and lowest when the weather was hot. They also were highest at the beginning of harvest season and lowest at the end and differed also with cultivar. The most important chemical, ellagic acid did not show the same variation with the seasons. Instead, the biggest factor was genetics. The four cultivars tested showed significantly different levels of this chemical, and those levels also varied by year and by harvest time. Berries lose ellagic acid content life harvested after in the season.

The authors concluded that there is a lot that can be done to select for clones of cloudberry with higher levels of these phytonutrients. It also shows how nutrient levels can change drastically from season to season and even within a single season. Lessons for berry pickers? Pick early in the season. 2018. Rubus chamaemorus

 

Nutrient content of black currants under different soil treatments

Svetlana M. Paunovi´c, Pavle Maˇskovi´2018. Primary metabolites, vitamins and mineras in berry and leaf extracts in black currants (Ribes nigrum) under different soil management systems. Comptes rendus de l’Acade´mie bulgare des Sciences (71) 2, 299- 308.

This article from Serbia found that in cultivated black currants, fructose was the most common sugar in both leaves and berries while sucrose was very low. In the leaves, the highest levels of fructose, glucose and sucrose occurred on bushes grown through a black plastic mulch when compared to a sawdust mulch and unmatched, fallow soils. The main vitamins in black currants are C, B3 and A. With vitamins, the highest levels in the berries were recorded on plants mulched with sawdust while vitamin A was highest in the black plastic mulch treatments. The highest values for primary metabolites, vitamins and minerals in berry and leaf extracts were achieved by currants grown under sawdust and black plastic mulch. This study showed that changes to how black currants are grown can have a significant effect on the nutritive value of both leaves and berries. They also worked with several cultivars and found significant differences in nutritive quality with cultivar. 18. Black currant

Forest Farms in Southern Sweden

Exploring the potential of edible forest gardens: experiences from a participatory action research project in Sweden   Agroforest Syst https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-018-0208-8

Johanna Björklund . Karin Eksvärd . Christina Schaffer

This research project explores the feasibility of growing a diversity of crops in a planned, forested area. The goals are lofty:

“The desired functions from the systems were agreed to be the provision of nutritious and tasty food products, nitrogen fixation, nutrient accumulation, the provision of quality food for pollinators, carbon sequestration, contribution to a benign microclimate and the provision of timber. The design and species composition were planned to optimize these functions”

This research reminds me of the permaculture gardens that have risen in popularity across the U.S. Whenever you have a multi-use approach to agriculture, there are a lot of tradeoffs especially in maximizing yield. Having layers of berry bushes growing beneath a nut tree, for instance, reduces light and could adversely impact yield and pollinator activity because the area becomes too shady. There is a desire for timber, but cut trees down and the entire moisture, light, etc. regimes of this ecosystem are changed. One of the plants included in this study was lambs quarter, Chenopodium album, an annual that would most definitely die out after a while because of shading and competition from trees as well as lack of disturbance of the soils. It certainly is a fun exercise and yields of any one crop will suffer, but in my back yard? Why not?

2018. Borklund

Fruit Teas in Poland

Ingredients of popular fruit teas in Poland

Artur Adamczak, Anna Forycka, Tomasz M. Karpiński

Department of Botany, Breeding and Agricultural Technology of Medicinal Plants, Institute of Natural Fibres and Medicinal Plants, Kolejowa 2, 62-064 Plewiska, Poland(Adamczak and Forycka)) and Department of Genetics and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Święcickiego 4, 60-781 Poznań, Poland (Karpiński)

The attached article from Poland shows the incredible diversity of fruit teas in Polish markets. Leaves, fruit, flowers, stems, petals, peels, roots, and juice concentrates  are used in a variety of teas that are popular because of their flavor, aroma and health benefits especially antioxidant content. The most popular fruit teas were raspberry, cranberry and rose hip, but the final tea sometimes contained more than 20 ingredients. Especially common in fruit teas were hibiscus flowers and apple. Apple and rose hip are often the top ingredients because they are cheap and easy to obtain from commercial sources. Even teas labeled raspberry could have hibiscus as the main ingredient. It certainly pays to do your homework and purchase from reputable sources because quality variation is huge. The list of ingredients is diverse and interesting!

722-2108-5-PB

Plant Cells as Food

Occasionally I read a journal article and my first response is “Really?” “Why in the world would somebody do that?” This is one such article. These researchers took cloudberry, lingonberry and stone berry (a type of raspberry) tissues and put them into test tubes. This process called tissue or cell culture takes living tissues, puts them into a test tube, adds a cocktail of nutrients and hormones so that the cells divide, and the result is a mass of actively dividing cells that will grow into large blobs of cells. As long as the nutrients and hormone levels are maintained, the cells will divide and divide.

Many years ago, when I was a grad student in Minnesota, other students were working on these cell cultures to see if the mass of cells in the test tubes could be used to harvest large quantities of useful chemicals, pharmaceuticals, bio pesticides and more. Rather than growing the whole plant such as the chrysanthemum-type flower that is the source of the pesticide pyrethrum, you could farm the cells and harvest the pyrethrum from the masses of cells.

Well this study takes cell farming to a new level. You are making masses of cells in a test tube so you can eat them! Rather than enjoying the trek into the woods, filling your bucket full of luscious berries, taking them home, filling your kitchen with the incredible aroma of lingonberry syrup, and then enjoying the fruits of your labor on a pile of pancakes, you will scoop out a mass of pinkish cells from a test tube, and eat them –– not sure how you prepare them. The fresh cells have a “sandy, grainy” texture. Yum!

The research was completed because of the claim that we will be running out of food on this planet because of increased population growth. Using current technology of farming, we will not have enough to feed the world. The solution is cell farming!

My opinion? I’d rather eat sawdust!

Plant cells as food – A concept taking shape (Berry cultures)

Emilia Nordlund, Martina Lille, Pia Silventoinen, Heli Nygren, Tuulikki Seppänen-Laakso, Atte Mikkelson, Anna-Marja Aura, Raija-Liisa Heiniö, Liisa Nohynek, Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä, Heiko Rischer, Food Research International Volume 107, May 2018, Pages 297–305

Abstract

Plant cell cultures from cloudberry, lingonberry and stoneberry were studied in terms of their nutritional properties as food. Carbohydrate, lipid and protein composition, in vitro protein digestibility and sensory properties were investigated. Dietary fibre content varied between 21.2 and 36.7%, starch content between 0.3 and 1.3% and free sugar content between 17.6 and 33.6%. Glucose and fructose were the most abundant sugars. High protein contents between 13.7 and 18.9% were recorded and all samples had a balanced amino acid profile. In vitro protein digestion assay showed hydrolysis by digestive enzymes in fresh cells but only limited hydrolysis in freeze-dried samples. The lipid analysis indicated that the berry cells were rich sources of essential, polyunsaturated fatty acids. In sensory evaluation, all fresh berry cells showed fresh odour and flavour. Fresh cell cultures displayed a rather sandy, coarse mouthfeel, whereas freeze-dried cells melted quickly in the mouth. All in all the potential of plant cells as food was confirmed.