UPLB BIOTECH: All-natural food colorant can reduce cholesterol!

BIOTECH researchers at UP Los Baños have developed an efficient technology for the production of an all-natural colorant that can be used for coloring food and beverages, and personal care products with a bonus that it contains a cholesterol-lowering compound.

The colorant is called Monascus Red Colorant which is now ready for commercialization. The research team is looking for companies and investors who are interested to commercialize the technology.

The Monascus colorant comes from natural plant sources that possess a range of biological activities such as antimutagenic and anticancer properties, antimicrobial activities, potential antiobesity activities.  It has antioxidant properties and contains Monakolin K which is a cholesterol-lowering compound.

The technology can be used by local food and beverage companies, baking industies, and beauty and personal care products industries. It is cheaper than the imported food dyes from the United States like the Red 40 (Allura Red), a dark red dye that is used in sports drinks, candies, condiments and cereals.

Yellow 5 (Tartrazine), a lemon-yellow dye that is found in candies, soft drinks, chips, popcorn, and cereals; and Yellow 6 (Sunset Yellow), an orange-yellow dye that is used in candies, sauces, baked goods, and preserved fruits.

Monascus Red can be produced in powder form and enhanced with fruity fermented scent; it is soluble in water and alcohol; it has improved color and flavor. It has a shelf life of two years.

Fidez Z. Tambalo, project leader for the development of Monascus Red Colorant disclosed that production studies have also been conducted at pilot scale and that the project is now open for licensing. (DOST Release, Rodolfo P. de Guzman)

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