IIT Kharagpur researchers develop low-cost vegetable oil powder with health benefits
Kharagpur (West Bengal)/IBNS: In a bid to provide low-cost healthy foods to a wider section of the society, the premier educational institute IIT Kharagpur, has developed a vegetable oil powder, which, they claim, is beneficial for the heart.
The research team led by Prof. Hari Niwas Mishra from the Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering worked on vegetable oils through preparation of oil blends, which are inherently endowed with natural antioxidants as well as well-balanced fatty acids, the institute said in a release.
According to scientists, oils vary significantly in their fat saturation and the healthiest fort the heart are those containing mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
The role of such fats is widely known in reducing low density lipoprotein or harmful blood cholesterol.
“The novelty of the research team is in its formulation of a nutritionally balanced polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) enriched with antioxidants and producing a synergistic vegetable oil blend,” said Prof. Mishra.
The PUFA-rich oil powder will find extensive use in replacing dairy fat in bakeries and confectionaries, believe researchers Monalisha Pattnaik and Dr. Mousumi Ghosh from the Food Chemistry and Technology Laboratory run by Prof. H N Mishra.
According to Pattnaik and Ghosh, there is already a shortage of dairy fat which can not only be compensated by this product but also have a healthy impact particularly mitigating heart related diseases on the consumers.
Another critical area the researchers have addressed is the susceptibility of PUFA-rich vegetable oil to rancidity and reduced shelf-life under severe environmental conditions.
Said Prof. Mishra “We have developed a novel process to protect the lipids from oxidation by microencapsulating with appropriate materials.”
The innovation has already been patented and is ready for commercialization at low costs.
Prof. Virendra Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur said, “This product makes PUFA and antioxidant-rich vegetable oil available for mass-scale consumption by large sections of the population, especially in the lower income groups, who are otherwise forced to buy oil with saturated fats.”
The researchers have received several awards for this product, including Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2020.
The work has been recognized for Young Student Invention and best thesis work in IIT Kharagpur.