Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur have developed a vegetable oil powder to keep the heart healthy.
The innovation was led by professor Hari Niwas Mishra from the Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering. It involved tailoring vegetable oils through preparation of oil blends inherently endowed with natural antioxidants as well as well-balanced fatty acids.
“The novelty of the research team is in its formulation of a nutritionally balanced polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) enriched with antioxidants and producing a synergistic vegetable oil blend,” said Mishra.
The PUFA-rich oil powder will find extensive use in replacing dairy fat in bakeries and confectionaries, believe researchers Monalisha Pattnaik and Dr. Mousumi Ghosh from the Food Chemistry and Technology Laboratory.
“There is already a shortage of dairy fat which can not only be compensated by this product but also have a healthy impact particularly mitigating heart related diseases on the consumers,” they said.
Another critical area the researchers have addressed is the susceptibility of PUFA-rich vegetable oil to rancidity and reduced shelf-life under severe environmental conditions.
The innovation has already been patented and is ready for commercialisation at low costs.
“Even after several decades nutritious and healthy food are seen as lifestyle products. But with a holistic approach, we must remove this bias. This product answers this call by making available PUFA and antioxidant-rich vegetable oil for mass-scale consumption by large sections of the population especially in the lower income groups, who are otherwise forced to buy oil with saturated fats,” said IIT-KGP director Virendra Tewari, congratulating the researchers upon their success.
The research team has already received several awards for this product including the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award, 2020. Furthermore, this work has been recognized for the Young Student Invention and best thesis work at IIT-Kharagpur too.