Common gums may mask bitter taste of antioxidants

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Antioxidant, Cmc

The common food gum CMC may mask the bitter taste of polyphenols and allow the formulation of foods for delivering the antioxidant compounds, suggests new research.

The study, published in Food Quality and Preference​, found that the CMC (carboxymethylcellulose) outperformed other common gums, including guar, xanthan, and arabic, in the masking of the astringent flavour of polyphenols.

“The addition of CMC to the polyphenolic extracts from fruits of chokeberry, green tea and walnut significantly lowered the perception of the astringency,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Greg Lamparski from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

“These results may be useful to prepare functional food characterised by the high antioxidant properties that could meet the consumers’ acceptance,”​ they added.

The days were healthy products were deemed unappetising are coming to an end, and food manufacturers are acutely aware of the need to make healthy products taste good.

Fortifying foods with polyphenols is limited by the inherent bitter taste of the compounds. Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds with health benefits reported to range from improved cardiovascular health, to protection against certain cancers and Alzheimer's.

Data from Leatherhead Food International (LFI) shows that the world functional antioxidants market is increasing year on year by around 3 per cent, and was valued at US$ 400 million in 2004, and US$ 438 million in 2007. Europe, the US, and Japan account for 90 per cent of this market.

With flavonoids and polyphenols reported to be 45 per cent of this functional antioxidant market, equivalent to almost US$ 200 million, it is no wonder that many companies are already offering such ingredients, including Naturex, Burgundy, Chr. Hansen, DSM, Futureceuticals, Danisco, Indena, Frutarom, Genosa, Natraceutical, Cognis, and ADM.

Study details

Lamparski and his co-workers formulated a range of test products gelled with the food gums and with added polyphenol-rich extracts from chokeberry, green tea and walnut. A team of trained panellists (ISO 8586-2:1994) evaluated the products.

Results showed that CMC performed best, followed by guar gum, then xanthan gum, and finally gum arabic. Looking at the structure of CMC, Lamparski and his co-workers noted that its helical structure may trap the astringent molecules and mask their bitter flavour.

The researchers confirmed that more study was needed and that the next stage should focus on elucidating the “mechanisms of masking the astringency and to determine whether interactions of polyphenols with polysaccharides affect their antioxidant properties”​.

Antioxidants are the focus of an upcoming conference hosted by our sister site, NutraIngredients. The NutraIngredients Antioxidants 2010 Conference​, to be held this month in Brussels, will discuss the science, testing and regulatory issues of the compounds. For more information and to register, please click here​.

Source: Food Quality and Preference
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2009.12.005
“The effect of polysaccharides on the astringency induced by phenolic compounds”
​Authors: A. Troszynska, O. Narolewska, S. Robredo, I. Estrella, T. Hernandez, G. Lamparski, R. Amarowicz

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