Edition 1493
22 September 2018
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Portuguese researchers develop acorn-based coffee substitute

by TPN/Lusa, in News · 01-03-2018 13:14:00 · 0 Comments

Researchers at Porto University’s Faculty of Pharmacy (FFUP) have developed an acorn-based product to replace coffee, to counter the negative effects drinking coffee has on consumers.

Portuguese researchers develop acorn-based coffee substitute

“Coffee is one of the most widely-appreciated and consumed beverages in the world. However, the presence of caffeine may have some negative effects on consumers”, said FFUP researcher, and one of the project’s managers, Diana Fetus.
When consumed in high doses, she said, in comments to Lusa News Agency, coffee can cause or increase symptoms such as tachycardia, palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, tremors and headaches.
According to the researcher, these undesirable effects also occur in individuals who are more sensitive to caffeine, even if they do not drink large amounts of coffee.
“Certain consumers with gastric disorders, iron deficiency anaemia, hypertension or stress may have increased sensitivity to coffee”, she explained.
To overcome this, the researcher said it is necessary to look for alternatives for the sustainable development of coffee substitutes, which include food products without commercial value.
In this project, the team used the seeds of ‘Quercus cerris’, commonly known as acorns, and considered to be a resource with low impact on human food, to develop a drink that can substitute traditional coffee.
Using the acorns, the team created a powder, with a less intense flavour than coffee, which has to be mixed in water and filtered before consuming, just like coffee powder or one of its substitutes.
According to Pinto, the acorns are rich in antioxidant compounds, such as polyphenols and vitamin E, and have a high uptake of reactive oxygen and nitrogen. Additionally, acorns are not toxic to intestinal cells.
The next steps in the project involve the identification and quantification of the bioactive compounds present in the new beverage and a sensorial analysis of the product.
FFUP researchers Santiago Diaz Franco, Anabela Costa, Sonia Soares, Francisca Rodrigues and Maria Beatriz Oliveira, also members of REQUIMTE, LAQV / Department of Chemical Sciences, and Snezana Cupara, Marijana Koskovac and Ksenija Kojicic, Faculty of Sciences Physicians of the University of Kragujevac (Serbia) are participating in the project.
Acorns grow widely on cork oaks in Portugal, where they are called bolotas, and are commonly used as animal feed.
They have also been used to make a sweet filling for chocolates.

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Edition 1493
22 September 2018
Edition: 1493

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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