By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia food scientists have found a way toincrease a key cancer and heart disease preventative in peanutsto levels far higher than those in red wine.Experts often tout the benefits of red wine as a source ofresveratrol, an antioxidant proven to protect against cancer andcardiovascular disease.”American diets are high-fat, and the incidence of heart diseaseis high in this country,” said Anna Resurreccion, the UGA foodscientist who led the project at the Food Innovation andCommercialization Center in Griffin, Ga. The French Paradox”The French eat high-fat diets, too, yet heart disease levels arelow there,” she said. “This is what’s referred to as the FrenchParadox. They attribute their health to the red wine they drink.”The peanuts Resurreccion modifies in her lab have up to 12.3times more resveratrol than red wine. “A study of 29 differentwines showed an average of .6 micrograms per gram and, inexceptional cases, 5 micrograms per gram,” she said. “Ourresveratrol-enhanced peanuts have almost 8 micrograms per gram.”Having increased levels of resveratrol available in peanuts, shesaid, opens up avenues to many new products that can carry its”cancer chemopreventive and anticardiovascular-disease compounds”in meals and snacks. Perfect for peanut lovers”Young children can’t very well drink wine,” she said. “But mostof them love peanut butter and peanut snack foods.”Peanuts with increased resveratrol will help Georgia peanutfarmers and food manufacturers, too.”This technology will help increase the number of product linesmade using resveratrol-enhanced peanuts and will give themanufacturers a competitive advantage,” Resurreccion said. “Weused a runner variety of peanuts, so Georgia farmers will benefitas well.”Resurreccion is now partnering with Belle Plantations, Inc., ofGeorgia to use resveratrol-enhanced peanuts to commerciallymanufacture peanut flour.Both the enhanced peanuts and their flour by-product will be usedto make products like pasta, candy bars, snacks, cakes, breads,power shakes and other health drinks, she said. Peanut butterwith increased resveratrol is another possible product.Resurreccion and her UGA colleagues first thought of increasingpeanut resveratrol levels after reading reports that boiledpeanuts contained higher levels of the compound.So how do they do it? Stress is the key to the process”The method involves slicing the peanut kernels into tinypieces,” Resurreccion said. “This causes the first stress. Thenwe apply an additional stress through ultrasound technology.”Because the nuts have to be sliced, the scientists haven’t beenable to increase the resveratrol levels in whole nuts.So far, the only drawback to the project is a slight off-flavordetected in a peanut butter prototype by a consumer panel andverified by the university’s trained taste panel.”Overall, the consumer panel was receptive to the peanut butterproduct, but they did detect a slight difference in flavor,”Resurreccion said. “Our UGA trained panel noted that it was notas roasted-peanutty tasting.”UGA has applied for a patent for the new process. Food scientiststhere are ready to fine-tune the process to get the highestresveratrol levels and best flavor possible.For the past four years, Resurreccion and graduate student,Jamie Rudolf, have been developing the technology as part of amultiyear, $1 million U.S. PeanutCollaborative Research Support Program grant. The grant alsoresulted in the development of a chocolate peanut spread and areduced-calorie, cracker-coated, peanut snack.The project also led to Resurreccion’s Vitamin-A fortified peanutbutter, which is being commercially produced in the Philippinesto alleviate deficiency symptoms, including blindness, in 35percent of the children there.
Teachers in Uganda are continuing with their strike to compel the government to implement a 10% salary increment that was promised to them in 2011.The teachers who are members of the Uganda Teachers Union (UNATU) have decided to continue with their strike after a negotiation meeting with the government today failed to deliver any acceptable solutions to their grievances. The strike began on Monday which was the official oppening day for second term in public schools.The Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) announced the strike last week to protest the government’s failure to deliver on the 10 per cent pay raise promise.The strike, although being observed in some schools but not in others, has disrupted the opening of the second term which officially started on Monday. The government has however promised to address the teachers concerns but the teachers have vowed to go on with strike until their demands are met.