Locally produced enzyme for making better fruit juices and wine

Drinking clear sparkling wine relaxes some people, while tasty cool fruit juice enervates others. While we enjoy the wine or the juice, have you ever asked how fruit juices and wine were made so clear and smooth to the palate?

Big manufacturing companies of fruit juice and wine use pectinase to hasten fruit juice extraction and wine clarification. Commercial preparation of peptic enzyme or pectinase is derived from a fungus Aspergillus sp or Aspergillus niger. Based on the enzyme survey conducted in the mid-90s, application of pectinase in the Philippines include: better yield of pressed juices, improve clarification of juices and wines; soften fruit and vegetable tissues during processing, hydrolyze pectic substances during fermentation o cocoa and coffee; improve extraction of oil from coconut and olives, and aid in degumming of ramie fiber.

Considering the various industrial applications of pectinase in the country, a group of researchers from the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, headed by Dr. Teresita M. Espino worked together to develop the enzymes locally.

“Food enzymes are imported from the United States, Japan, Holland, Denmark, and other countries,” Dr. Espino said in her paper. She added the Philippines spent an average of US$2.94 million for importing prepared enzymes at 3.58 million average net kg in a five year period (1990-1994).

Hence the researchers conducted a study entitled “Industrial Application of Locally Produced Pectinases” to evaluate the effectiveness of the locally produced pectinases in the clarification of milled pineapple juice, extraction of banana juice from ripe Cavendish banana and production of clarified banana wine.

A pilot scale production of pectinase using Aspergillus sp with rice bran as substrate was undertaken by the researchers. Analysis showed that pectinase production was economically feasible. Comparative cost analysis showed that locally produced pectinase is cheaper than the same commercial product.

“The cost per ml and cost per pectin transeliminase (PTE) unit of crude pectinase was P0.087 and P0.034, respectively for locally produced (BIOTECH) pectinase, while the cost of a known pectinase was P1.00 per ml and P0.040 per PTE unit,” the researchers said.

On the other hand, result of the study on the use of the BIOTECH pectinase on the clarification of the milled pineapple juice showed that the minimum pectinase concentration of 0.0112% with a total PTE units of 0.139 degraded the pectin of 100 ml pineapple juice by 98.13%. It also showed that using locally produced pectinase was cheaper than the commercial pectinase by 27% or P227 per 3,500 gallon of juice.

On the extraction of banana juice, the study showed that the BOTECH pectinase increased yield of banana juice at a minimum concentration of 25%. Likewise, the banana wine fermentation was completed in seven days instead of the usual three weeks, with an alcohol content of 11.75-12/45%.

Researchers concluded that local production of pectinases using indigenous resources was economically feasible. It would be good if government could make a policy limiting the importation of pectinase to minimize outflow of dollar reserves, benefit the beverage industry and generate employment for our people. (PSciJourn/Vicky B. Bartilet)

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