Dumped onion waste could be used as food supplement: Study

July 15th, 2011 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 15 (IANS) More than a half million tonnes of onion waste dumped every year in Europe could be used as food supplements as they are rich in dietary fibre and medicinal compounds, says a scientific study.

The waste includes the dry brown skin, the outer layers, roots and stalks, as well as onions that are not big enough to be of commercial use, or onions that are damaged.

“One solution could be to use onion waste as a natural source of ingredients with high functional value,” said Vanesa Benitez, researcher in agricultural chemistry at the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain), who led the study.

Benitex and associates found that the brown skin could be used as a functional ingredient high in dietary fibre and phenolic compounds, such as quercetin and other flavonoids (having medicinal properties). The two outer fleshy layers also contain fibre and flavonoids.

“Eating fibre reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal complaints, colon cancer, type-2 diabetes and obesity,” added Benitex, reports the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.

Phenolic compounds, meanwhile, help to prevent coronary disease and have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Sulphurous compounds in onions reduce the accumulation of platelets, improving blood flow and cardiovascular health in general. They also have a positive effect on antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems in mammals, the researchers said.

Benitez’s research group worked with scientists from Britain’s Cranfield University to carry out lab tests to identify the substances and possible uses of each part of the onion.

–Indo-Asian News service

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