Mindanao researchers develop vitamin A-enriched noodles from alugbati

Posted on 06/21/2020 08:48 am
Mindanao researchers develop vitamin A-enriched noodles from alugbati image

Do you know that other than being added to Filipinos’favorite monggo or ensalada, alugbati can also be combined with wheat flour to make egg noodles?

Alugbati (Basella alba), also called Indian spinach, Malabar spinach, Ceylon spinach, and vine spinach, is an indigenous leafy vegetable found in the country and widely cultivated in the Visayas region, that is considered a healthy food and is claimed to have medicinal value.In other countries it is called Genjerot, Jingga, Gendola (Indonesian); TsuruMurasa Kai (Japanese); Paag-Prung (Thai); and MongToi (Vietnamese).

Finding intrinsic value in this vegetable, a team of researchers from the University of the Philippines Mindanao developed a product using alugbatileaves powder, which is a good source of vitamin A, as an ingredient in fresh egg noodles.

Studies have reported that fresh alugbatileaves are relatively high in crude ash and crude protein, which signifies that it has a high mineral content that can help address protein energy malnutrition. This is the reason why alugbatican be utilized in food fortification and enrichment in certain products, such as noodles.

Normally, egg noodles are made of wheat flour, eggs, and water. The study substituted wheat flour with 10%, 15%, and 20%, respectively of alugbatileaves powder in the formulation. Results show that a substitution level of 15% was the most preferred. Noodles can be used as carriers of nutrients if plant-based or animal-based ingredients are added to enhance their nutrient content.

Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) remains one of the three common forms of malnutrition worldwide, the other two being iron deficiency anemia and iodine deficiency disorder.  According to the National Nutrition Survey, despite the declining mortality rate caused by VADin the Philippines, the overall prevalence rate of VAD increased from 5.9% in 2008 to 6.1% in 2013.

Incidentally, preschool children have a VAD prevalence rate of 20.4%. Micronutrient deficiency, the lack of needed vitamins and minerals needed for growth and development, leads to stunting, wasting, and other severe illnesses especially among children and pregnant women.

“Consuming the alugbati egg noodles can help provide the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A especially for children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly,”Kriza Faye A. Calumba, one of the researchers, explained.

For the full version of the article, visit the Philippine Journal of Science (PJS). It can also be accessed through this link http://philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph/images/pdf/pjs_pdf/vol149no2/utilization_of_alugbati_leaves.pdf. PJS is a publication of the Science and Technology Information Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-STII). DOST also has testing facilities in its regional offices nationwide that provide technical assistance to those who wish to venture into technology-based businesses. (Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin, S&T Media Service)