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Okra extracts backed for natural hydrocolloid potential

By Nathan Gray+

11-Jul-2014

Okra extracts backed for natural hydrocolloid potential

Carbohydrates extracted from the okra plant have potential to be used as a natural hydrocolloid that improves the quality of emulsions-based food products, say researchers.

New research evaluating the potential of carbohydrates isolated from okra for their use in food-based applications has suggested that extracts could improve the quality of some of the most popular emulsion-based food products including butter, mayonnaise, yoghurt and fruit drinks.

Led by Katerina Alba from the University of Huddersfield in the UK, the new research raises the possibility that the okra plant could provide a new source of natural hydrocolloids and could also be used in 'modified release formulations'.

"The purpose is to improve the quality of the product – its consistency, texture, how it breaks in the mouth, and its shelf-life," said Alba, who has recently published two research papers outlining the potential of okra as an emulsifier and for the use as an emulsifier and slow-release mechanism in food and pharmaceutical applications .

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