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UP scientists turn coconut water into powder
by Catheryn Villorente - Monday, 28 March 2016, 03:12 PM
www.philstar.com: March 27, 2016

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has tapped the expertise of scientists from UP Mindanao to develop coconut water into powder. 

DOST Region 11 director Anthony Sales said using a spray dryer developed by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), a team of food scientists from UP Mindanao has completed the process of converting coconut water into powder. 

“We are still doing further research to determine the nutrient retention capacity,” Sales told The Star in a recent interview. 

Sales said thousands of coconut farmers and coconut product manufacturers would benefit from this initiative, which would help coconut water become more mainstream.   

Coconut powder has a much lower price when compared with the ready-to-drink version. 

Wrapped in convenient individual sachets, the coconut powder is considered among the country’s leading agricultural exports.

“We are very happy that our investments in various R&D efforts have  resulted in many significant breakthroughs and that our Filipino scientists, engineers and researchers are showing they can deliver if only you will invest and gamble on them,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo told The STAR. 

It would be recalled that the DOST chief in 2013 sent  17 regional directors to Thailand to study the coconut water market, which has grown by leaps and bounds with the continuous development of by-products. 

Upon their return to the Philippines, the DOST regional directors reported that Thailand utilized  high-tech food processing machines such as spray dryers, vacuum dryers, freeze dryers,  and vacuum sealers to turn coconut water into powder. 

Subsequently, the MIRDS and ITDI successfully designed and fabricated their own equipment which allowed the construction of food innovation centers in Davao City, Tuguegarao City and Tacloban City.  

Based on the Philippine Coconut Authority’s 2011 statistics, nearly a third of the country’s farmland is dedicated to coconut farming. 

Sales said the powdered coconut juice is a healthy alternative to instant fruit juices in the market because it is really from the natural coconut fruit with no artificial flavour and preservatives added. 

Coconut powder can also be used in baking biscuits, snack bars, cakes, pastries as well as in making jams and jellies and flavoring for ice cream.

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