Dehulling Sesame Seeds

October 22/Science Letter -- "Sesame seeds must be dehulled before processing for the food industry because the husk provides undesirable darker color and bitter taste. Currently, sesame seeds are mechanically peeled but this procedure requires high volume of water, which is a scarce resource in most of the countries where sesame is consumed by humans," researchers in Alicante, Spain, report.

"In this study, several chemicals have been used in order to facilitate the peeling process and reduce the water requirement. The feasibility of using chemicals was evaluated by studying the color (instrumental and sensory) and the microstructure of seeds. Addition of both NaClO and H2O2 before the mechanical dehulling of sesame seeds will be the recommended treatments for combining the dehulling and whitening steps of the sesame processing. This recommendation is supported by the high values of the L* and dehulling percentage and the low values of the color coordinates a* and b*," wrote A.A. Carbonellbarrachina and colleagues, Miguel Hernandez University.

The researchers concluded, "Besides, the scanning electron microscopy proved that the NaClO treatment was able to remove the hulls without causing damage to the cotyledons."

Carbonellbarrachina and colleagues published their study in Food Science and Technology International ("Effects of Chemical Dehulling of Sesame on Color and Microstructure." Food Science and Technology International, 2009;15(3):229-234).

For additional information, contact A.A. Carbonellbarrachina, Miguel Hernandez University, Dept. of Tecnol Agroalimentaria, Carretera Beniel Km 3-2, Alicante 03312, Spain.

From the October 26, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition