Published: 04th November 2020
IIT KGP researchers develop low-cost, antioxidant-rich vegetable oil powder for a healthy heart
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
Researchers from IIT Kharagpur have developed a novel formula for a vegetable oil powder to keep your heart healthy. The innovation, led by Professor Hari Niwas Mishra from the Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering involved tailoring vegetable oils through the preparation of oil blends which are inherently endowed with natural antioxidants as well as well-balanced fatty acids.
Oils vary significantly in their fat saturation. The healthiest are those containing mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are healthy for the heart. The role of such fats is widely known for 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,” explained Professor 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 Professor H N Mishra.
“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,” they said.
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. “We have developed a novel process to protect the lipids from oxidation by microencapsulating with appropriate materials,” said Professor Mishra. The innovation has already been patented and is ready for commercialisation at low costs.
Congratulating the researchers, Professor Virendra Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur remarked, “Even after seven decades nutritious and healthy food is seen as lifestyle products due to affordability issue and lack of awareness. But under the holistic approach in the present scenario, we must remove this bias which is a toll on the health of millions in this country. This product answers this call by making available PUFA and antioxidant-rich vegetable oil 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 due to their low prices.”
The researchers have received several awards for this product. A key among them is the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2020. Furthermore, this work has been recognized for Young Student Invention and the best thesis work in IIT Kharagpur. The team is working incessantly towards providing low-cost healthy foods to a wider section of the society.