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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

17/12/2002

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

NULL

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

Philippine research yields high-value products fro
MANILA, Dec 6 (Asia Pulse) - A research team of the National Institute ofMolecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) at the University of thePhilippines in Los Banos, Laguna (UPLB) has developed novel products fromcoconut oil such as specialty fats, flavor esters, and antibacterialagents.The team led by BIOTECH director Teresita Espino changed the chemicalproperties of the oil through catalysis using lipase, an enzyme that aidsin the breakdown of fats and oils.Lipase use is actually the output of the team's earlier research on thedeveloping the technology for large-scale low-cost lipase production.The specialty fat is called medium chain triglyceride (MCT), an excellentalternative for regular vegetable oils because it is easily absorbed bythe body and has lower calorie content.While regular oils contain nine calories per gram, MCT has only 8.3, andunlike regular oils, it does not stay in the body as fat because it isquickly used up as energy.The anti-bacterial beta monoglyceride (MG), another coconut oil-basedproduct, is an effective and safe fruit and vegetable protectant.The research team found out that when used as coating for fruits andvegetables, MG not only wards off bacterial infection but also preservesthe fruits' color, odor and firmness for up to two weeks.MG can also be used as an alternative to triclosan and triclocarban,strong anti-microbial agents in soaps and detergents. The project revealedthat MG fights bacteria that cause diarrhea and gastro-intestinal diseaseswithout any adverse effects to health.Food companies will also appreciate the coconut oil-derived flavor estersisoamyl acetate for banana flavor and ethyl butyrate for pineapple flavor,being natural components preferred by consumers."The production of high-value products from coconut oil is one way wherewe could help improve the competitiveness of the coconut industry," Espinosaid.Adoption of this technology would help raise the income of coconutfarmers, village level entrepreneurs and commercial coconut oil-basedindustries. It also offers an alternative application for the utilizationof coconut oil, he added.The research is undertaken through the Philippine Council for AdvancedScience and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD), an agency ofthe Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which provided itsfunding.