The Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) has developed a stabilizer from a new source—okra.
Most stabilizers or natural hydrocolloids come from plant (pectin, carrageenan, cellulose gum, locust bean gum), animal (gelatin), or microbial (xanthan gum, gellan gum) sources.
Hydrocolloids are water-loving and are used as functional ingredients to increase product consistency, improve the gelling effect, and control the microstructure, texture, flavor, and shelf life of food or non-food products.
Oliver C. Evangelista, team leader of the project on sourcing hydrocolloids from okra, said, “local markets have a daily oversupply of okra, including an excess volume of off-specs and material rejects.” He added that this excess volume of off-specs makes okra an ideal source of natural hydrocolloid because this new demand will not be competing with current uses for it.
Evangelista is thus encouraging food manufacturers and processors to utilize their okra or other by-products and generate additional income by creating value-added and innovative products.
“Interested parties can visit ITDI to explore the development of new products from their waste materials. Our Modular Multi-Industry Innovation Center or InnoHub sa Pinas is equipped with multi-functional modular equipment that can be retrofitted to suit every manufacturing line,” he explained.
Results of several studies on the viscosity or thickness of spray-dried okra fluid have resulted in two new products. These include banaba milk tea and toothpaste with calamansi seed oil.
ITDI has partnered with Greenstar Produce Philippines Inc. to produce these new products. Established in 2007 as a group company of Watari Co., Ltd. in Kanagawa, Greenstar processes fresh okra varieties and exports these to Japan. (AMGuevarra\\ITDI S&T Media Service)