Cauliflower waste boosts fiber in expanded snacks

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dietary fiber

Adding cauliflower to ready-to-eat snacks boosts fiber content and
nutritional value, a new study has found.

By-products from cauliflower are a rich source of dietary fiber and proteins and when added at certain levels to cereal based expanded snacks, do not spoil the taste, according to research published in the Journal of Food Engineering.

Cauliflower also has antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties and is "inexpensive" to use because it has a high waste index, the researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK and Gaziantep University, Turkey said.

The USA is ranked sixth in the world for cauliflower production, generating an estimated 335,530 metric tons, worth almost $76million, according to UN figures for 2005.

Professor Paul Ainsworth, director of the Manchester Food Research Centre, told "Whenever you buy cauliflower from the supermarkets they are always trimmed.

You are probably using nearly 50 percent.

"The outer leaves are removed which go to waste.

We are trying to utilize the waste and minimize landfill."

Prof. Ainsworth added that they were also looking at using cauliflower in bread to boost the fiber content, again with good results.

However he said this changed the color so it looked more like wholemeal rather than white bread.

Interest in dietary fiber has been increasing with scientific studies linking increased intake to reduced risks of cancers such as colorectal, and cardiovascular disease.

As such, there is a trend to find new sources of dietary fiber as functional ingredients.

Despite the mounting evidence for the benefits of dietary fiber, a survey by Columbia University showed the average intake in the US was about 12.5 grams a day, well short of the 32 grams of fiber per day recommended by the US National Fiber Council.

The study is reportedly the first to use cauliflower by-products in ready-to-eat snacks.

The researchers used cauliflower with some florets, curd, stem and leaves that were washed thoroughly and then ground.

The dried sample was then milled and wheat flour was replaced with the dry cauliflower at levels of 5, 10, 15 and 20 percent.

In terms of the influence of cauliflower levels on taste, a sensory test panel indicated that it could be incorporated into a ready-to-eat snack up to a level of 10 percent.

Although the report added that improving the flavor of the end product was still in progress as the taste was considered too strong at levels above 10 percent cauliflower addition.

The fiber content of extruded products without cauliflower was 5.6 percent but that increased to 8.3 percent when the product contained 10 percent cauliflower.

The figures for protein increased from 6.3 per cent without cauliflower to 19 per cent with 10 percent.

A number of researchers have already looked at the value of fruits and vegetable by-products such as apple, pear, orange, peach, blackcurrant, cherry, artichoke, asparagus, onion and carrot pomace as sources of dietary fiber supplements in refined food.

And a recent report by Finnish researchers found that proteins isolated from the potato, obtained as processing waste from the potato industry, may be biologically active and capable of reducing blood pressure, as well as having antioxidant activity.

Source: Journal of Food Engineering Volume 87, Pages 554-563 "Cauliflower by-products as a new source of dietary fibre, antioxidants and proteins in cereal based ready-to-eat expanded snacks" Authors: V. Stojceska, P. Ainsworth, A. Plunkett, E. Ibanoglu, S. Ibanoglu.

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