Plant based infant formulas are currently attracting attention and gaining traction due the to the concerns related to cow milk allergy, lactose intolerance, environmental sustainability and trends towards veganism. Limitations among currently available plant based infant formula (IF) derived from soybean and rice have been documented. It is important to explore alternative plant-based proteins and lipids for infant nutrition. Among the alternative crops, coconut, a versatile climate resilient crop of high nutritional profile, agricultural versatility and dynamic physiochemical properties through maturation stages, presents promising results. At the immature stage, the endospore contains a high amount of coconut water with lower amount of soft coconut flesh, which converts through maturation into a hard thick white color kernel which is rich in oil with less amount of coconut water. Furthermore, coconut by-products are often underutilized, yet they are rich sources of proteins, minerals, and fiber which have potential for upcycling for use in infant nutrition with the focus of prebiotic oligosaccharides and postbiotic effect. The present PhD aims at developing a coconut based IF using different coconut starting materials, based on maturity index and type of by-products for optimized nutritional, functional and sensorial quality to meet recommended requirements. Nutritional quality, digestibility, sensorial and techno-functional properties of coconut proteins and lipids will be determined. Upcycling of by-products through microbial fermentation and enzyme assisted treatments will be focused to improve the nutritional quality and yielding prebiotic oligosaccharides to use in infant nutrition. Finally, the product concept will be evaluated to determine the consumer acceptance.
|Effective start/end date
|8/03/22 → …
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