There are some 500,000 species of higher plants around the world, of which around 70,000 serve as a basis for plant-based drugs. Much as applications for vegetable active ingredients vary, they all share one common feature: they are extremely sensitive substances which have to be treated correspondingly gently by the biotechnical process used to obtain them. Extraction decanters and polishing separators from GEA are perfectly designed for this purpose. Plant extraction is a process that aims to extract certain components present in plants. It is a solid/liquid separation operation: a solid object (the plant) is placed in contact with a fluid (the solvent). The plant components of interest are then solubilised and contained within the solvent. The solution thus obtained is the desired extract.
The solvent will eventually be eliminated to isolate the plant extract. If it is for the food industry, it is not necessary to separate it from the extract. If not, a second separation operation makes it possible to obtain a dry extract.
Nowadays, the term “extract” is frequently used incorrectly. In fact, only solid/liquid extraction is capable of producing them, but sometimes simple crushed plant powders are marketed as “extracts”.
The origin of the extraction of active plant ingredients has been lost to time. It was in fact very early on that mankind discovered the benefits of plants and the first techniques for separating out what we now refer to as “extracts”.
The first extracts were essentially obtained through aqueous extraction or alcoholic fermentation, and according to procedures such as infusion, maceration, decoction and hydrodistillation. The simplicity of these procedures, as well as the tools, materials and heating methods of the time, meant that the extractor was a man of the arts rather than a scientist.
Today, this activity calls upon the use of precise automatons and adapted materials. It has benefited from advances in process engineering, phytochemistry and analytics. Moreover, new technologies to assist extraction (high-pressure, microwaves, ultrasound, etc.) are being developed.
However, the notion of expertise in plant extraction remains to this day a balanced combination of the mastery of technical parameters, and tradition.
Precise Adaptation to Process Parameters
The structure and biological activity of the substances mean that very specific medium conditions have to be used. The extraction process is particularly suitable for this, but has to be precisely adapted to suit process parameters such as pH, temperature, concentration and the delicate structure of the valuable substances. The efficacy of a phytopharmaceutical product also depends on adequate and consistent dosage of the plant extract
, so industrial standardization is of huge significance.
Maceration or Percolation?
Plant extracts are defined as concentrated preparations of liquid, solid or viscous consistency. As a rule they are obtained by maceration (extraction to equilibrium with water or alcohol) or percolation (extraction to exhaustion with water or alcohol). A key factor in production is selection of the extraction agent. Water-soluble (hydrophilic) constituents can be extracted with water, whilst fat-soluble (lipophilic) constituents are extracted from a particular part of the plant with alcohol or other solvents.
The health costs of sugar
Sugar sweetens, preserves, and enhances the flavor of food. This makes it hard to avoid and resist, but the health benefits of reducing your sugar intake are clear.
A diet high in sugar has been associated with a wide range of health conditions, either directly through its effect on the body or indirectly due to complications from obesity. Excessive sugar consumption may lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Poor nutrition absorption, high triglyceride levels, and tooth decay are all related to high sugar intake. It has also been linked to poor cognitive function, affecting memory and increasing the risk of dementia.
Healthy sugar alternatives and how to choose the right sugar replacement for you
It may be difficult to sort through all the sugar alternatives on the market to decide which one is right for you. Consider the following when making your decision:
Understand the four categories of sugar alternatives.
There are four common types of sugar substitutes: artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, novel sweeteners, and natural sweetener
s. Each has potential benefits and drawbacks depending on your goals.
Think about why you want to cut down on sugar.
If you have diabetes, for instance, artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, like xylitol, could be a better choice when consumed in moderation. Natural sweeteners, like honey, can still raise blood sugar. Always consult with a doctor or dietitian if you’re not sure of your best option.
Are sugar alternatives really a healthier option?
Whether sugar substitutes are a healthier choice for you depends on which type of sweetener you use, how much you use, and why you use it.
Synthetic sugar substitutes are intense sweeteners, so you only need a little bit to enhance flavors in food. Some add no calories and may help with weight control, although the benefits of artificial sweeteners on weight loss in the long term are still unclear. Artificial sweeteners may be beneficial for those with diabetes since they don’t raise blood sugar. However, it’s important to consult with your doctor before using a sugar substitute if you have diabetes.
Some people have concerns about the safety of artificial sweeteners. However, all artificial sweeteners must be reviewed and cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA provides consumption guidelines that outline the maximum quantity of artificial sweeteners you can safely have each day.
According to Ingredients Network, an online platform that sources products in the food and natural ingredients industry says the demand for fruit and vegetable powder
s is rapidly growing as consumers develop a growing need for produce consumption. The demand is especially high in Europe as fruit and veggie powders are showing up in beverages, bakery, and ready to eat products. By 2022, this market is expected to bring in a revenue of 216 billion dollars, with an annual growth rate of 5.8%
Consumers are becoming increasingly more concerned about their health, and the appeal of veggie powders with added protein, fiber, and other nutrients, is growing more attractive. It is also a convenient way to reduce produce waste, as powders can utilize produce that otherwise would have been tossed. They are also much easier to transport after production. Manufacturers are also working to ensure that taste is not sacrificed while meeting maximum nutrient expectations. These qualities may for one appealing nutritional label.
Big companies everywhere are noticing this trend and making appropriate investments. General Mills recently invested in Purely Elizabeth, a company that uses mushroom powders in their wellness bars to increase energy and immunity. Some brands are even developing their own powders like juice company Welch’s, who has made a fruit powder with polyphenols.
Among produce ingredients found within these powders, leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and alfalfa are very popular, with fruits like blueberry, strawberry, a?ai, and goji berry.
These powders seem to be doing a world of good for both consumers and manufacturers!
Want to learn about some tasty vegan fruit and veggie powders?
These powders can be consumed on their own mixed with a glass of water, or added to your morning smoothie for increased nutritional benefits!
What are Fruit Powders
Fruit powders, like green powders, are a new way for people to get the vitamins and nutrients they need every day. Fruit powders are fruit that has been freeze-dried or dehydrated and then ground into a fine powder. Unlike green powders, which are typically a blend of different vegetables in one container, fruit powders contain only one type of fruit.
Fruit powders are easy to preserve, transport, store, and use. And they last much longer than regular fruit.
Are Fruit Powders as Nutritious as Fresh Fruit
Depending on the drying method, fruit powders can retain most of their vitamins and nutrients during the powder production process.
Before the fruit is turned into a powder, it is freeze-dried, a process that preserves nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants. But freeze-drying fruit also eliminates most of the fiber, which helps the body feel full and digest food better.
Just like green powders, fruit powders aren’t a substitute for whole fruits. The body processes fruit powder supplements differently than it does fresh fruit and eating only fruit powders can cause you to miss some of the essential nutrients that come from whole fruit. They are best used as a supplement to a well-balanced diet and as a substitute in cooking and baking.
Are Fruit Powders Healthy
Fruit powders do have a large number of vitamins and nutrients, even after the dehydration process.
The drawback to fruit powders, however, is their high-calorie content. Fresh fruits are high in calories that come from healthy carbs. When fruit is freeze-dried, and the water removed, it becomes much more concentrated as a powder. Since a cup of fruit powder contains more than a cup of its whole food counterpart, eating a serving of fruit powder means you are consuming more calories than if you ate a piece of fruit.
Even though they are high calorie, fruit powders make great substitutes for higher-calorie ingredients such as sugar. And a scoop of fruit powder in a glass of water is a better choice than drinking soda or juice while still giving you beneficial nutrients. So even though fruit powders are calorie-rich, they have an advantage as a healthy alternative for more calorie-dense foods.