Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have discovered a plant-based food preservative that is more effective than artificial preservatives.
The organic preservative comprises a naturally-occurring substance known as 'flavonoids', a diverse group of phytonutrients found in almost all fruits and vegetables. The flavonoids created by NTU scientists have strong anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties; two key traits of preservatives that inhibit bacterial growth and keep food fresher for longer.
In tests carried out on meat and fruit juice samples, the organic preservative kept its samples fresh for two days without refrigeration, compared to commercial-grade artificial food preservatives.
The experiment was conducted at room temperature (about 23 degrees Celsius) where the other food samples with artificial preservatives succumbed to bacteria contamination within six hours.
The NTU research team aims to further develop their findings with the food industry and enhance its efficacy and safety so that it can be used in all packaged food products.