The new research, published in the Journal of Food Engineering, proposes the use of cellulolytic and pectinolytic enzymes to provide ginger ingredients for the food industry with lower concerns over the promotion of bacteria and moulds.
Researchers from the University of Hohenheim obtained ginger extracts up to the pilot scale and, if continued scale-up also produces similar positive results, could offer industry with an alternative source of ingredients with enhanced properties.
"The ginger digest obtained after finishing turned out be a valuable raw material [for] various ginger products," wrote lead author Ute Schweiggert. "Additionally, the solid residue contained large amounts of pungent principles, which enables its application as a flavouring agent."
IAL Consultants's Overview of the Global Flavours and Fragrances Market, published in April, put a US$12.6bn tag on the market. Flavours are said to account for just over 50 per cent of the market, and fragrances just under.
The consultancy predicts ongoing growth of around 3.5 per cent per annum.
In Europe, it has identified some key trends, including demand for 'heavier' flavours to ensure that low- or no-sugar products still taste good.
Ginger is increasingly seen as a health ingredient - the rhizome is a rich source of antioxidants, including gingerols, shogaols, zingerones and other ketone derivatives. It has long been used as a remedy for nausea, especially associated with morning sickness.
"The present study aimed at the enzyme-assisted liquefaction of ginger to obtain ginger digests which could be used as raw materials for the production of various ginger preparation," wrote Schweiggert.
The researchers used cellulolytic (DSM Food Specialities) and pectinolytic (Novozymes) enzymes, followed by pasteurization and spray-drying of the ginger digest "using ginger starch as carrier material and gelling agent to obtain spray-dried ginger powder and paste-like ginger condiments."
Schweiggert and co-workers report that this resulted in "a high retention of valuable ingredients" and should be extended to other spices.
The research is on-going, they said, with work looking at possible side reactions involving the enzymes, and stability of volatile oils and colours.
Source: Journal of Food Engineering
Published on-line ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2007.04.013
"Enzyme-assisted liquefaction of ginger rhizomes (Zingiber officinaleRosc.) for the production of spray-dried and paste-like ginger condiments"
Authors: U. Schweiggert, S. Hofmann, M. Reichel, A. Schieber and R. Carle