Near the end of 2018, a research group at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore discovered a plant-based food preservative and published their findings in Food Chemistry. Since then, the team has set on further developing its findings to benefit the food industry and to enhance "the efficacy and safety of their natural preservative so that it can be used in all packaged food products."
The plant-based food preservatives are found in flavonoids which are "naturally occurring chemicals in plants such as onions, tea strawberries, kale, and grapes." They are responsible for vivid colors, as well as adding protection of the vegetable/fruit/herb against pathogens, herbivores, pests, and more. Led by Professor William Chen, the research team "engineered baker's yeast to produce flavonoids from plants" that had antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. During trials, the scientists discovered that their plant-based food preservative "kept samples fresh for two days without refrigeration, making it superior to commercial-grade artificial food preservatives."
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