Alugbati noodles, anyone?

Published June 26, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Zea Capistrano

DAVAO CITY – Researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) in Mindanao have found an ingenious way to encourage children to eat vegetables.

ALUGBATI NOODLES. Clockwise starting at top left shows the picture of the alugbati noodles showing 10%, 15%, 0%, and 20% formulation of alugbati powder as a substitute for wheat flour. The study of the researchers from UP Mindanao used the 15% formulation. (Photo courtesy of Kriza Faye Calumba / MANILA BULLETIN)
ALUGBATI NOODLES. Clockwise starting at top left shows the picture of the alugbati noodles showing 10%, 15%, 0%, and 20% formulation of alugbati powder as a substitute for wheat flour. The study of the researchers from UP Mindanao used the 15% formulation.
(Photo courtesy of Pam Soriano / MANILA BULLETIN)

Turn the vegetables into noodles.

Just this month, the Office of Research of UP Mindanao published the research project entitled “Utilization of ‘Alugbati’ (Basella alba L.) Leaves Powder to Increase Vitamin A Content of Fresh Egg Noodles.” The study was received by the Philippine Journal of Science on December 11, 2019.

Kriza Faye Calumba, UP Mindanao Assistant Professor from the Department of Food Science and Chemistry and one of the authors of the study added that this study is part of the research project entitled “Improving consumption of indigenous vegetables by school age children through vegetable gardens and supervised cooking in six schools in Davao City” funded by the Office of Research of UP Mindanao. She said the research project is comprised of three thesis projects.

“The team consisted of researchers from various disciplines so that the approach to the study will be more comprehensive,” Calumba told The Manila Bulletin.

Among the authors of the study were Asst. Prof. Rovi Gem Villame, Dr. Juma Novie Alviola, and Calumba, who are from the Department of Food Science and Chemistry; Asst. Prof. Aileen Grace Delima and Dr. Emma Ruth Bayogan, who are from the Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies; and Dr. Pete Alviola IV, who is from the School of Management.

The study started between July and August 2017 as an undergraduate thesis of Pamela Soriano, who graduated from UP Mindanao with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Food Technology.

“Since our research project targeted to promote school gardening and the utilization of underutilized indigenous vegetables to address micronutrient deficiencies, I thought that alugbati would be a good crop to focus on. Aside from being abundant and affordable, it is also known to be a good source of Vitamin A and is rich in fiber and protein,” Soriano, who currently works as an analyst in a popular beverage brand, said.

To turn it into noodles, the alugbati leaves were first dehydrated and turned into powder. The alugbati powder was then incorporated into the noodle dough, which was later cut, boiled, rinsed, and drained. The noodles were stored in a sealed plastic bag at 2-3 ºC.

Soriano said alugbati noodles can provide 20-33% of the recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin A for children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly.

“This product has relatively higher vitamin, fiber, and protein content compared to ordinary egg noodles. Moreover, alugbati is one of the cheapest vegetables that you can find in the market,” she said.

Soriano added that alugbati is “very abundant in rural areas yet underutilized as its use as food is only limited to soups and salads.”

“Converting it to powder can open a lot of avenues in expanding its use in other food products,” she said.

Calumba said the alugbati noodles are not yet available in the market.

“However, the team is very willing to cooperate with any organization interested in providing support for the mass production of the product,” she said.

 
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