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Technological support options for the usage of Brazilian Açaí berries in the European Food Market

  • The highly perishable fruit açaí grows on palm trees in northern Brazil and is colloquially known as a berry with high nutritional value. The seed of the drupe makes up around 85 percent of the fruits weight and only the pulp around the seed is used for human consumption. The manufacturing step after harvest includes the pulping and the preservation of the fruit. The preservation step is necessary, because the açaí pulp contains a high microbial load. There are several preservation processes including the use of chlorinated or ozonated water, alcoholic fermentation, pasteurization, freezing or dehydration. Those techniques are overall not very gentle and have the potential to leave residues in the final product, which can change its typical sensorial characteristics. Therefore, an experiment was conducted, to see if a relatively new gentle preservation method called PEF can reduce the microbial load in an açaí- smoothie. For this purpose, a PEF-machine was built and verified based on the paper from HEINZ ET AL. [2003]. The self-built machine works efficiently, when there is a reduction of microorganisms like Escherichia coli in apple juice due to the induced Pulsed Electric Fields. If this is the case, the described experiment with açaí-smoothie can be carried out with the self-built PEF- machine. In this experiment the results of the validation of this PEF-machine were not comparable to those from the paper from HEINZ ET AL. [2003]. So, the self-built PEF-machine in Brazil did not work sufficiently. Hence, the experiment which should show that a reduction of microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli, in açaí-smoothie with PEF is possible, was performed in Germany. It was accrued out at ELEA with using the PEFPilotTM Dual. This experiment confirmed the assumption, that microorganisms can be reduced in açaí-smoothie with PEF. Escherichia coli was reduced by 2 logs, Saccharomyces cerevisiae by 3 logs and Lactobacillus plantarum by 6 logs. And a comparison between PEF and the known preservation methods for açaí showed that it can be a compatible alternative. Moreover, the topic, how açaí fits into the European Food Market is answered within this paper. When offering açaí food products to the European population, ideas can be originated from the well-working Brazilian market. It can be helpful to mix açaí with known European fruits for a better acceptance by the people. Then açaí can help to meet the Europeans needs of the current time for fresh and healthy food, especially when preserved with PEF. Furthermore, it is important to work towards a sustainable supply chain system from the cultivation until the unloading at the destination in Europe. Sustainability is important for the integration in the European market, not only for environmental protection, but also in terms of social stability and marketing purposes. In addition, access requirements, further food-related regulations, and the seasonality of açaí present a major hurdle. Building on this thesis, further papers shall be written, not only in the field of the preservation of the açaí pulp with PEF, but also in the direction of combined preservation methods for açaí, the sustainable usage of the açaí seeds, product innovations containing the Brazilian fruit or various market research.

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Author:Louisa Determann
Title (English):Technological support options for the usage of Brazilian Açaí berries in the European Food Market
Contributor(s):Everton Lüdke, Robertiele Schardong
Referee:Ludgar Figura, Stefan Töpfl
Advisor:Ludgar Figura
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Year of Completion:2022
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Osnabrück
Granting Institution:Hochschule Osnabrück, Fakultät AuL
Date of final exam:2022/08/30
Release Date:2022/11/09
Tag:PEF; Preservation; Tropical fruits
Page Number:VI, 70
In cooperation with:Universidade Federal de Santa Maria
Faculties:Fakultät AuL
DDC classes:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 500 Naturwissenschaften
Review Status:Akzeptierte Fassung