Pomegranate test determines concentration

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pomegranate juice Alzheimer's disease

With pomegranate rapidly assuming the status of the new super
fruit, a food laboratory hasreleased a testing system for
determining its concentration in products.

RSSL yesterday said its functional foods laboratory has now developed a reliable test based on ellagic acid, which can be used to indicate the pomegranate concentrationin a food product and provide data to support a labelling claim. RSSL laboratory said it developedthe test after more and more food producers began asking for help in incorporating it into their products.

An important part of the process of adding pomegranate to products is to ensure that it is still present at the end of shelflife, RSSL stated.

Due to its high polyphenols content, pomegranate juice is a rich source of anti-oxidants. Ellagic acid is not thought to be the most significant of the polyphenolchemicals responsible for pomegranate's anti-oxidant capacity, but can be used as marker for the juice.

Ellagic acid is also present in cranberries, raspberries and strawberries and so the new test could also be used as means ofevaluating the presence of these berries in a food product, RSSL stated.

Recent studies have shown the numerous benefits attributed to pomegranate juice.

Pomegranate juice is best known for its it heart health benefits after Israeli scientists demonstrated that the fruit juice, taken daily, prevented the thickening of arteries. In other studies at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, the juice of the fruit was found to slow down cholesterol oxidation by almost half, and reduce the retention of LDL.

The most recent study, by Loma Linda University in California, found that a daily glass of antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice could halve the build-up of harmful proteins linked to Alzheimer'sdisease.

The work follows a recent epidemiological study into the possible role of fruit and vegetable juices reducing the risk of Alzheimer's, a result that was also linked to the polyphenol, rather than the vitamin content of the fruit and vegetables.

The researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that people drinking juices three or more times per week were 76 per cent less likely to develop signs of Alzheimer's disease than those who drank less than one serving per week. This was after taking into account dietary intake of vitamins E, C and beta-carotene.

Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide. The direct and indirect cost of Alzheimer care is over $100bn (€ 81bn) in the US alone. The direct cost of Alzheimer care in the UK was estimated at £15bn (€ 22bn).

Pomegranates contain polyphenols, tannins and anthocyanins, all thought to help fight disease. A glass of the juice is also said to provide 100 per cent RDA of folic acid, a substantial amount of potassium and niacin, and half an adult's RDA of the vitamins A, C and E.

In Europe the increased popularity of exotic fruit has contributed significantly to a growth rate of 26 per cent for the European organic food industry between 2001 and 2004, according to Datamonitor. The US market looks to be following suit.

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