April 25/Serbia/Sugar Industry -- New research from Serbia has raised hopes on the antioxidant benefits and shelflife extension properties of a sugar beet fiber derived ingredient when added to biscuits.

Fibrex, produced by Nordic Sugar, is produced by a clean-drying process. Building on previous research, the Serbian research team compared it with treated sugar beet fiber (TF) that had been extracted with sulphurous acid and treated with hydrogen peroxide, according to the portal bakeryandsnacks.com.

Earlier research, said the authors, indicated that the particle size and colorless and odorless properties of sugar beet fiber made it a 'promising ingredient' in the formulation of biscuits.

The Serbian team's findings, published in the journal Sugar Industry, indicate that the substitution of wheat flour with commercially available Fibrex in formulation upgraded the antioxidant activity and could prolong their shelf life.

There was purportedly no impact on the shelflife of biscuits produced with the hydrogen peroxide- treated fiber, observed the team.

"The better antioxidant activities of Fibrex-enriched cookies could be attributed to the presence of ferulic acid," concluded the researchers.

According to Nordic Sugar, prior to the outcome of this research, it had not been aware of the antioxidant properties of Fibrex. Anneli Martensson, a spokesperson for the company, said that its R&D team would collaborate with its bakery customers on establishing how much dosage of Fibrex would be required per product to generate the antioxidant benefits.

The biscuits were prepared by the addition of 0, 7%, 9% and 11% of sugar beet dietary fiber as a substitute for wheat flour in the product, and the antioxidant properties of the cookies were tested every seven days using a DPPH (1,1-diphe-nyl-2-picrylhydrazyl-) radical scavenging activity test during six weeks of storage at room temperature (23 ± 1°).

And the Serbian team members point out that previous studies in the literature have demonstrated that sugar beet dietary fibers were good sources of antioxidants.

"Ferulic, gentisic and p-coumaric acid have been identified and reported to be predominant phenolic acids in the ethanolic extract of sugar beet pulp and have proved to be relative potent antioxidants," they observed.

From the April 25, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.