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YACON BR: ingredients for flavor and healthy life

Abstract

The Peruvian yacon tuberous roots, Smallanthus sonchifolius, which belongs to the Astaraceae family, has a long history of traditional use. Various scientific works confirm the functional properties of raw yacon and their products that currently reach the European, American and Japanese markets. The functionality of yacon is related to the content of frutooligosaccharideos, also known as FOS, present in the roots. These polymers are sugars that are not metabolized by the digestive system and become soluble fibers in the intestine. As soluble fibers in the intestine, fructans are beneficial to lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the gut for a healthy digestion and colon. To ensure the functional properties of the yacon's fructans, it is necessary to harvest at the right time, maintain roots under refrigeration and to process the biomass using well-defined procedures. However, most yacon products found on the international market are not standardized for FOS content. Our objective in FAPESP's PIPE-2 is to optimize and standardize the production of FOS as a low-calorie and prebiotic food ingredient for the baking cookies, cakes and breads and the making yogurts, ice cream and juices. Thus, increasing the content of soluble fibers and reducing the amount of sugar and fat in the final product. The ingredient-standardization process includes: the cultivation of roots; the production of flour and concentrated juice; the physical-chemical characterization of the ingredients (flour and concentrated juice); and the determination of shelf life. A standardized process will establish a production chain that integrates small farmers to the manufacturing of flour and concentrated juice. Thus, ensuring safety and quality to the final products as well as satisfying the consumers who want to reduce sugar, fat from their food with prebiotic activities. (AU)

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