When fruits and vegetables are processed to manufacture food products such as wine and snacks, in most cases sulphur dioxide (SO2) has an important technical role. Sulphites are traditionally used as antioxidants and preservatives in fruit and vegetable products, dried fruits, snack products and wine. However, SO2 and sulphites strongly reduce vitamin B1 uptake, which could lead to chronic headaches and the disturbance of memory. Another risk group are asthma patients because sulphites could promote asthma attacks. Food is the main source for the intake of sulphur dioxide. With this background in mind, the SO2SAY project has developed a strategy to reduce or even replace the use of SO2 or its salts in almost all food products.
Three approaches of SO2SAY to obtain SO2-free food products
reduction of sulphur dioxide in food
development of new agents and processing techniques to replace SO2 in food products
prevention of enzymatic browning of food
improving the shelf life and appearance of food products without sulphur dioxide addition
Identifying alternative natural ingredients having benefits for human health through the replacement of sulphur dioxide
An important aspect of the project for food applications is the preservation of the sensory quality and shelf-life of the SO2-free products. Reducing or replacing SO2 runs the risk of changing the sensory properties of food products, especially colour and taste. Thus, consumers may refuse such food alternatives, even though these alternative foodstuffs might be considered healthier. Therefore, all developments in the SO2SAY project will be accompanied by comprehensive sensory studies and consumer tests.
Nutrition and Food Science; Replacement of Sulfur Dioxide in Food, Functionality of polyphenolic Extracts
Teunie van Herk
Biochemistry and Biocatalysis; from characterization of proteins to the application in biocatalysis.