Ludhiana, Oct 7 (UNI) The new focus on research on fruits at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is on processing and value addition, according to Dr Jasbir Singh Randhawa, Head, Department of Horticulture.
The identification of varieties for release are based on their quality and desirable processing attributes, he said here today.
Recently, PAU released two semi-soft pear varieties namely, Punjab Nectar and Punjab Gold, which apart from possessing table quality are suitable for processing into squash, nectar and ready-to-serve (RTS) beverages due to their juice content which ranges from 52 per cent to 56 per cent.
Under the soft pear group, PAU released the highly juicy variety, Punjab Soft. Semi soft varieties are suitable for processing either by caning or as whole pieces, Dr Randhawa stated.
According to Dr Randhawa the recently released anthocyanin-rich grape variety, Punjab Purple is suitable for processing into juice, nectar and RTS beverage. It contains 60 to 65 per cent juice with total soluble solids of 17-18 per cent.
Dr Randhawa said that inter-disciplinary research on varietal evaluation for suitability for processing was being carried out in collaboration with Department of Food Science and Technology and Microbiology of the university. He further added that work on studying wine making potential of the existing grape varieties had been initiated and the identification of some suitable varieties had been arrived at.
The agri scietists pointed out that technology for preparing non-alcoholic naturally carbonated beverages from Sutluj Purple and Kala Amritsari plums thorough optimised fermentation conditions had been developed that helps the juice retain original nutrients for three months. Natural carbonation improves taste, appearance, aroma besides being antimicrobial.
Dr Randhawa informed that Baramasi lemon and Tahiti lime have also been identified as suitable fruits for making beverages.
Scientific teams had been constituted for different fruits to promote research on processing and value addition as huge proportion of horticultural produce suffers from post harvest spoilage, he added.