This blog covers the entire domain of sericulture. It is designed for providing a common platform for discussion between scientists, policy makers and students in the field. reproduction of content from this blog with due acknowledgement is encouraged.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Anthocyanins from mulberry fruits - a challenge for mulberry germplasms

Anthocyanins are edible pigments, which hold potential use as natural food colourants. As the safety of synthetic pigments are doubted and in the wake of increasing demand for natural food colourants their significance in food industry increase. Anthocyanins are reported to yield attractive colours such as orange, red and blue. Since they are water-soluble their incorporation into aqueous food systems is easy. Apart from the colouring property anthocyanins are also known to possess antioxidant property and improve visual acuity. They also possess antineoplastic, radiation –protective, vasotonic, vasoprotective, anti-inflammatory, chemo and hepato - protective properties.
Xueming Liu and his co workers at the Sericultural Research Institute, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China in 2004 developed a cheap and industrially feasible method for purification of anthocyanins from mulberry fruit which could be used as a red food colourant of high colour value (of above 100). They found that out of 31 Chinese mulberry cultivars tested the total anthocyanin yield varied from 147.68 mg. to 2725.46 mg. per litre of fruit juice. Extraction and purification was done by using acidified ethanol as effluent solvent and cross-linked polystyrene copolymer - macro porous resin as adsorbant. The results indicated that total sugars, total acids and vitamins remained intact in the residual juice after removal of anthocyanins and that the residual juice could be fermented in order to produce products such as juice, wine and sauce.
In many parts of the globe mulberry is grown for its fruit. The fruit is known to have many medicinal properties and used for making jam, wine etc. As the genera Morus has been domesticated over thousands of years and constantly been subjected to heterosis breeding (mainly for improving leaf yield), it would not be impossible for evolving breeds suitable for berry production. The finding offers possible industrial use of mulberry as a source of anthocyanins as natural food colourant, which could enhance the overall profitability of sericulture. Anthocyanin content was found to depend on climate and area of cultivation and it was higher on a sunny day. This finding holds promise for tropical sericulture countries for profiting from industrial anthocyanin production from mulberry through better anthocyanin recovery.
This offers a challenging task to the mulberry germplasms resources across the globe, in exploration and collection of fruit yielding mulberry species; their Characterization, cataloguing and evaluation for anthocyanin content by using traditional as well as modern means and bio technology tools; developing an information system about these cultivars or varieties; training and global coordination of utilization of these genetic stocks and finally in evolving suitable breeding strategies to improve the anthocyanin content in potential breeds by collaboration with various research stations in the field of sericulture, plant genetics & breeding, biotechnology and pharmacology.
Reference: Liu, Xueming et. al. (2004): Quantification and purification of Mulberry anthocyanins with macroporous resins.; Journal of Bio medicine and Biotechnology; 2004:5 326-331, http://www.jbb.hindawi.com/.

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