Eucheuma-based healthy beverages

21 Mar 2016 NUS food scientists develop the eucheuma-based packaged beverages with no added sugar and preservatives with a local company, YGC Group.

Eucheuma, a category of edible red seaweed mostly grows in Southeast Asia. Eucheuma is high in crude protein, dietary fibre, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin C and minerals. It has properties of both seafood and vegetables. Regular consumption of eucheuma will help improve body functions, including promoting healthy digestion and preventing colon cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It can also lower blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels and promote brain development, anti-aging and help tissue repair.

Many current beverages contain a high amount of added sugar and synthetic preservatives, whichconcerns many consumers. A research team led by Prof YANG Hongshun from the Food Science and Technology Programme at the Department of Chemistry in NUS, has developed the eucheuma-based beverages with no added sugar, preservative-free. The sweetness comes from natural honey or fruit or herbal extracts. No preservatives are needed for this beverage. Furthermore, the team applied proper food grade hydrocolloids to evenly distribute the ingredients in the beverage system, which makes it appealing to consumers.

With the input from a team of food science and technology students, NUS researchers and YGC Group, more new products have been developed: osmanthus honey eucheuma drink and orange eucheuma drink. Prof Yang was awarded a ‘certification of appreciation’ from the company in 2015 for his contribution to the company’s research and development.

On 18 Mar 2016, the Faculty of Science NUS, and YGC Group, signed a Research Collaboration Agreement to further promote joint research and development in healthy food products. Witnessing the signing ceremony was Prof Richard WONG, Head of the Department of Chemistry in NUS, and CEO of YGC Group Mr GUN Kai Chong.

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Figure shows eucheuma-extract is used for preparing no added sugar, preservative-free, eucheuma-based beverages [Image credit: Yang Hongshun]

 

References

1. Yang D, Liu Q, Sow LC, Yang H. “Eucheuma: Seafood with potential for beverage applications”. Food & Beverage Asia (2016) 51.

2. Matanjun P, Mohamed S, Mustapha NM, and Muhammad K. “Nutrient content of tropical edible seaweed, Eucheuma cottonii, Caulerpa lentillifera and Sargassum polycystum.” Journal of Applied Phycology (2009) 21:75.