Lycopene-enriched hamburgers pass taste test

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Tomato peel may enhance the nutritional profile of hamburgers with a dose of 4.9 mg of lycopene per 100 g of cooked hamburger achievable, report Spanish researchers.

According to findings published in Meat Science​, dry tomato peel at a level of 4.5 per cent can lead to acceptable hamburgers with an enhanced nutrient content.

“A new meat product, a hamburger enriched in lycopene, has been obtained by adding dry tomato peel (DTP) directly to hamburger meat,”​ wrote the researchers from Madrid’s Universidad Complutense, and the Spanish Institute of Industrial Fermentation.

“The lycopene concentration of hamburgers manufactured with 4.5 per cent dry tomato peel contains approximately 4.9 mg of this carotene per 100 g of product; this amount is close to the daily intake of lycopene recommended as healthier,”​ they added.

The study taps into the wider health and wellness trend in the food industry. Indeed, at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Anaheim several scientists reported how meat and meat products are increasingly being researched as viable contenders in the functional food arena, with meat being enriched with fibre, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids,

"Meat contains many important nutrients, including bioactive compounds such as taurine, L-carnitine, creatine, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and endogenous antioxidants,"​ said Yeonhwa Park, PhD, secretary for Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Food Chemistry Division.

Park pointed out that meat also contains unique endogenous antioxidants including carosine, anserine and others, along with iron and zinc, nutrients often lacking in the average diet. "Meat also contains a significant source of vitamin B-12,"​ added Park.

New data

The Madrid-based researchers added the dry tomato peel to hamburgers and evaluated the meat’s nutritional, physicochemical, and sensorial characteristics. The additive was found to modify all the textural properties of the mean, due to the presence of fibre, said the researchers.

The taste of the meat assumed a slight tomato flavour, said the researchers, while the colour also changed, due to the carotenoid content of the fruit.

“The sensory quality of the hamburgers remains good up to DTP concentrations of 4.5 per cent,” ​said the researchers.

IFT insights

In Anaheim, Frederic Leroy, Ph.D., professor in nutrition, meat technology and quantitative and predictive microbiology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel told attendees that addition of potentially probiotic bacterial strains to meats was still marginal. "Several disadvantages exist when using fermented meats as a probiotic carrier,"​ said Leroy. "For one, fermented meats are not generally considered 'health food' by consumers. Plus technical issues exist. It requires careful selection of probiotic strains since, for example, they would need to have a resistance to bile salts."

Source: Meat Science​Volume 83, Issue 1, Pages 45-49“Beef hamburgers enriched in lycopene using dry tomato peel as an ingredient”​Authors: M. Luisa García, Marta M. Calvo, M. Dolores Selgas

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