• 14 Mar
    Essential oils

    Essential oils

    Breaking new ground in the analysis of juice with steam distillation

    The International Fruit and Vegetable Association held a series of Technical Webinars including a Quality webinar with Dr Eduard Wiedenbeck as a guest speaker

    Here we review the analysis of citrus fruit juices, particularly determining the quality of citrus essential oils according to their main constituent, D-Limonene.

    As 2021 was the FAO’s International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, it is inevitable to remind ourselves of the important role that citrus fruits play in maintaining our health. Oranges, lemons and grapefruits are rich in phytonutrients, a type of antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in our body and prevents many health issues.1 Nevertheless, both as consumers and as producers, we should take a closer look at the quality-related compounds that are present in citrus fruits, especially at D-Limonene, which is the main constituent of citrus essential oils. D-Limonene is mainly present in the peel of citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, and is used by the plants as a natural insecticide protecting their nutrient-rich fruits from parasites. For us, the smell of D-Limonene is characteristic of a fresh orange scent which is not surprising considering that more than 90 % of the oil content of oranges is comprised of this compound. In our daily life, D-Limonene is used as a dietary supplement and as a fragrance ingredient for cosmetic products. Because of its refreshing scent, it is often used to mask the bitter taste of alkaloids and for all kinds of cosmetic products. And since D-Limonene is the main constituent of citrus essential oils which are found in the fruit peel, the compound is also present in fruit juice where it contributes to the flavour of the fruit. Due to heavily industrialized juice production with cold press extraction of oranges, it is unavoidable that this compound enters fruit juice in significant amounts.

    D-Limonene – beneficial or not?

    Although it appears to be safe and even positively accepted for most human-related uses, there may also be negative implications if D-Limonene is administered in higher concentrations. If this compound is applied to skin, it may cause irritation from contact dermatitis. This topical effect becomes even more significant when this compound is ingested at high concentrations with irritations in the throat as the consequence. Further studies show that the liver was identified as a critical target organ following oral administration of D-Limonene.2 But should we now stop consuming citrus fruits and their juice products?

    The answer is a comforting ‘no’. Thanks to responsible national authorities such as the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which have set maximum levels that should not be exceeded, it is ensured that the consumer gets a taste of the highest quality of juice products. Thanks to these standards, D-Limonene is maintained at low enough concentrations to be harmless. How can one measure D-Limonene levels? An established method with steam distillation according to Scott and Veldhuis has proven its reliability since 1966.3 However, determining D-Limonene via manual steam distillation and subsequent titration analysis is usually tedious, slow and labour-intensive. Some quality control laboratories report that they need 20 minutes just to distil one single sample. Recently, efforts have been made to speed up the process by using a distillation unit with an integrated steam generator. As a result, the steam distillation time has decreased drastically from 20 minutes to 1 minute per sample! More details on these time savings can be found in BUCHI’s latest Application Note. In this case the juice industry should be on a viable way to facilitate a high throughput analysis that is still in line with the established method.

    1 Okwu, D.U.; Citrus fruits: A rich source of phytochemicals and their roles in human health, International Journal of Chemical Sciences 2008, 6(2), 451-471

    2 Lee B.M. et al.; Safety Evaluation And Risk Assessment Of d-Limonene, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 2013, 16 (1), 17-38.

    3 Scott, W.C.; Veldhuis, M.K.; Rapid Estimation of Recoverable Oil in Citrus Juices by Bromate Titration, Journal of Association of Official Analytical Chemists 1966, 49 (3), 628–633.

     Dr Eduard Wiedenbeck is Product Manager for Kjeldahl Solutions at Büchi Labortechnik in Switzerland. He has presented this topic at the IFU Technical Webinars 2021. The webinar can be seen on-demand by clicking here.”



    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Mar
    Sugar reduction

    Sugar reduction


    We have the technology – the key to sweetness exists

    Tetra Pak provide some insight into their ground-breaking tech designed to keep our favourite beverages sweet and delicious, but less of the sugar

    There has been an abundance of attention around reduced sugar drinks, not least because of the much-discussed sugar tax. But juice trails its counterparts in this space.

    Tetra Pak, together with Sumol+Compal, has developed technology that can reduce the sugar content in juice to the exact requirements of the brand using a fermentation process. The fermented de-sugared juice is a true ‘clean label’ product with no additional ingredients.

    This innovative solution can reduce sugar in juice while maintaining its taste profile, colour, mouthfeel, and nutritional content. Using fermentation, it is possible to remove the sugar while keeping all the benefits of the juice, plus fermentation is trendy in the added value category. Indeed, almost a third of the USD1.5 billion invested in alternative proteins last year went towards companies using fermentation.

    According to recent research from Mintel, there is a thirst from consumers globally for this type of product. In Spain, 75% of juice consumers cited sugar as a reason for limiting the amount of juices & smoothies they drink. Meanwhile in China, 43% of juice consumers consider sugar content an important factor in choosing juice drinks. In the UK, 42% of juice buyers say that health benefits would encourage them to spend more on juice drinks.

    1. Can you explain, in layman’s terms, the kind of technology being used to reduce the sugar content in these juices?

    We are using fermentation, a natural biological process to remove sugar while retaining all the benefits of the juice. The secret lies in combining a unique yeast strain with the optimal process and design parameters so that all sugar is removed, and re-blended with standard juice to achieve the desired final product.

    1. How is this technology applied to achieve the desired effect?

    Step 1. Fermentation:

    • Complete sugar removal down to 0% is achieved with optimal process and design parameters in combination with a unique yeast strain which gives consistent product quality – no off flavors, nor increasing the natural acidity present in a fruit juice, thus keeping fruit juice flavour and fundamental nutritional value.
      • By products: the yeast that is added in fermentation tanks is removed in the clarifier
      • By products: the alcohol which is created during fermentation is removed in the de-alcoholisation unit

    Step 2. Clarifier:

    • Removes the yeast cells to stop fermentation process
    • Secure product quality (no rupturing of yeast cells, to avoid sensory impact, very low pulp / turbidity reduction)
    • The yeast size, shape and floculation behaviour, make it possible to remove the yeast while only a minor amount of juice pulp is removed, keeping the juice nutritional and maintaining its sensorial profile
    • The process design does not break the yeast cell walls, meaning that there is no release of off flavour (yeasty) compounds into the juice

    Step 3. De-alcoholisation unit

    • Removing alcohol in a gentle way while keeping juice taste and aromas
    • The quantity is completely controlled
    • The product after the de-alcoholisation unit: a valuable ingredient of 0% desugared juice

    Step 4. Product formulation:

    • The final sugar level in the product is controlled by blending the 0% desugared juice with 100% juice in a normal juice line after the fermentation process
    • With this production line solution, we are able to keep the number of ingredients to a minimum, while maintaining good taste, colour, mouthfeel as well as nutritional content
    1. Were there any R&D challenges? How were these overcome?

    Some of the challenges faced when trying to find a refined process to produce de-sugarised juice included:

    • Watering down and adding low-calorie sweeteners meant that there would be a lower juice content and no increased nutritional density
    • Removing sugars using filtration technologies didn’t achieve the desired sensory result – it resulted in changes to the juice matrix and impacted nutritional value
    • Enzymatic conversion of sugars to a by-product had some impact on sensory result and may not be perceived as a natural process
    • Multiple yeast strains had to be tested to find the optimal solution
    1. Can you tell me more about the fermentation process? What method does your company use to achieve your desired result?

    We decided to use fermentation as it is a natural biological process that can remove sugar while maintaining the taste profile, colour, mouthfeel and nutritional content.

    First, the yeast is added to the juice. Once this has been done, the yeast is then removed by a clarifier, before the alcohol is then removed in a de-alcoholisation unit. This produces the de-sugarised juice and there is then the possibility to re-blend this 0% sugar juice with 100% juice to achieve the desired product, such as 50% sugar juice.

    The specific yeast strain used was selected after screening dozens of strains, and is used in various traditionally fermented foods such as wine or cider.

    1. Can you tell me anything about the patents on this technology? Once the word gets out, how do you foresee other companies making use of this kind of technology? Or is that not possible?

    This technology solution is similar to our revolutionised JNSD line that Tetra Pak launched last year, which was a new combination of existing technology (UV + filter). As such, the de-sugarised juice method is a combination of existing technologies, albeit in a new and unique way.

    Due to the fact that these technologies are already in use, it is not possible to patent. However, in order to achieve the desired quality and benefit from the expert knowledge developed during trials, customers need to combine equipment from Tetra Pak with the unique yeast strain from Sumol + Compal.


    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Mar
    Global – Sustainable attributes drive adoption of aluminium cans from beverage-makers

    Global – Sustainable attributes drive adoption of aluminium cans from beverage-makers

    When a recycled material is used to make a new product, natural resources and energy are conserved. In the words of the coordinator for the first Earth Day (April 22, 1970) environmental advocate Denis Hayes said: “Listen up, you couch potatoes; each recycled beer can saves enough electricity to run a television for three hours.” In the same vein, manufacturing with recycled aluminium cans uses 95% less energy than creating the same amount of aluminium with bauxite, experts note.

    Moreover, there is the potential for essentially all of the aluminium in beverage cans to be recycled multiple times, generating significant environmental and economic benefits, note Scott Breen, vice president of sustainability, and Sherrie Rosenblatt, vice president of marketing and communications, at the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), Washington DC.

    “It is no surprise that beer, energy, health and soft drink beverage companies are enjoying the many benefits of the aluminium can, which has the highest recycling rate among all beverage packaging,” Breen and Rosenblatt say. “In CMI’s latest can shipment reports, aluminium can production in the United States and Canada increased 3.5%.

    “There are many sustainability advantages to packaging beverages in an aluminium can. Compared to plastic PET or glass bottles, aluminium cans lead the way in the key measures of recycling rate, recycled content and value per ton,” they continue. “An industry-leading 45% of aluminium cans are being recycled and an average 93% of recycled cans will end up as new cans, typically in as little as 60 days. As a result, the US beverage can on average is made up of 73% recycled aluminium. This continuous circular journey happens over and over again because metal recycles forever.”

    Recent trends indicate that more than 70% of new beverage product introductions are in aluminium cans and long-standing customers are moving away from plastic bottles and other packaging substrates to cans due to environmental concerns. For aluminium bottles we expect to witness a surge in demand and growth in the next five to 10 years. BeverageIndustry

    By Caroline Calder News
  • 14 Mar
    US – Orange juice prices rise as Florida citrus farmers struggle to survive

    US – Orange juice prices rise as Florida citrus farmers struggle to survive

    Deep in the heart of Florida, there’s a fight between generational farmers and every outside force below and above the soil to keep Florida oranges on trees and in consumer homes. Citrus Famer Christian Spinosa comments: I’ve been working on our family citrus and beef cattle operation out of Bartow, Florida. I’m a fifth-generation citrus and beef cattle producer,” Spinosa said.

    Spinosa owns Putnam Grove, a thousand acres of the more than 400,000 acreages of citrus groves in the state, and sells most of his oranges to Florida’s Natural orange juice. It’s changed a lot over the years. If it hasn’t been for freezes or canker or stasia and now citrus greening is what we’re currently facing,” he explained.

    Citrus greening has been a Florida farmer’s plague since 2005. This, coupled with a recent freeze in Florida, is frightening news for orange production. In 2022, the USDA predicts the sunshine state will produce the smallest batch of oranges since WWII, at 43.5 million boxes. The sad reality is, Florida Citrus Mutual estimates citrus acreage in the state is about half of what it was 20 years ago, with 60% of growers leaving the industry in the last five years.

    When you sell your land for 20, USD30,000 an acre and it’s a business decision. It’s not a demand decision. It’s a business decision,” said Steve Johnson, owner of Johnson Harvesting. Johnson’s family has owned their citrus grove in Wauchula since the 1930s. For him, selling isn’t an option.

     “Florida’s — it’s very important that citrus stays alive. It roughly, there’s 33,000 jobs that are involved in citrus, there’s about USD6.7 billion in economic impact. So the citrus industry plays a huge role in the economy,” Johnson explained.

    These oranges aren’t just going to local grocery stores, Florida groves supply about 95% of the entire country’s orange juice. One of the beauty parts behind the pandemic was the demand for orange juice went up because it’s a great quality product. It’s got vitamin C and it’s a healthy product,” Johnson said.

    A recent Nielsen report reveals orange juice sales are the highest they’ve been in years, but as we know, supply and demand affects prices. In the last year, orange juice prices went up more than 25%, according to Insider Market, and they are expected to continue rising.

    However, these farmers say paying the premium is the only way to help keep their crops alive. Florida farmers are constantly trying to figure out how to adapt to greening and keep trees healthy.


    By Caroline Calder News
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