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Enrich antioxidant activity of pear juice with oregano, wild thyme extracts.

We all know that the use of chemical preservatives in products has become very controversial. Synthetic antioxidants, such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), are commonly used because of their effectiveness and low cost. Nevertheless, the toxicity of these compounds has drawn attention to their side effects on the human body and possible carcinogenic properties.

Modern consumer options have been redirected to natural alternatives, which are healthier and more diversified in terms of their chemical composition and functional properties.

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds often found in fruits and vegetables, among other products. More than 8,000 phenolic compounds can be found in plants. Polyphenols have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and other properties. Recently, interest has grown in the use of natural antioxidants in polyphenol-rich drinks.

Toward this end, scientists in Romania wanted to improve the antioxidant capacity and stability of pear juice and its compounds, during 12 days of storage, using natural antioxidants. The results of their work are promising for replacing synthetic antioxidants with natural antioxidants.

Phenols from oregano and wild thyme extracts were obtained by using pressurized liquid extraction (PLE). The phenols' stability was examined under various pH values, temperatures and the presence or absence of light.

The scientists found that organic solvents could be successfully replaced by microemulsions, and the microemulsions were able to stabilize the phenols and their delivery in pear juice. The obtained microemulsions were able to stabilize linoleic acid and walnut oil, containing up to 70% water.

The oregano and wild thyme extracts improved the antioxidant capacity of pear juice better than synthetic antioxidants, eliminating the potential for negative side effects. The pear juice with plant extracts had higher antioxidant values than the pear juice that contained synthetic antioxidants. The juice with oregano had an antioxidant capacity approximately 1.45 times greater than the juice containing BHA. The juice containing oregano had approximately 1.67 times greater antioxidant value than the juice with BHT.

Further information. Tudor Lucian Miron, Faculty of Food Science and Engineering, Dunarea de Jos University, 111 Domneasca Street, 800201 Galati, Romania; phone: 336 13 01 77; fax: 336 13 02 81; email:

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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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