Research area

Fruit, berries and vegetables

Research results show that a healthy diet is rich in "greens" - food based on plant raw materials such as fruit, berries, vegetables, pulses, plant oils, herbs and nuts.

Nofima has extensive knowledge about how ingredients with beneficial health properties are affected by storage, processing and preparation. We are working on increasing our knowledge of typical Norwegian fruit and vegetables, throughout the value chain, from raw material to the health effects of the food. This is competence of high practical potential that the industry will be able to exploit.

It is important that vegetables and fruits can be stored after harvesting, both during distribution and then with the end user, without quality being lost. Nofima has both the competence and the facilities for controlled and documented storage under different conditions, to be able to test the storage capabilities of various products. The effect of temperature and light on health related and sensory quality is the main focus. The effect of various modes of packaging for fruits and vegetables is also investigated.

Organic

The storage properties and quality of organic plant products is being investigated in several projects. One of the main aims is to develop varieties that have good resistance to damage and high quality and that are liked by the consumer.

Metabolite profiling

Various substances such as sugars, organic acids and secondary plant metabolites are linked to both sensory and health related qualities.

Over time Nofima has built up considerable competence in characterising and measuring the content of different plant substances (metabolites) in fruit, berries and vegetables, including polyphenols (flavonoids and others), glucosinolates, terpenes, phytosterols and carotinoids, as well as various vitamins. Secondary plant substances occur in their thousands and are characterised by their amazing diversity, many of them being reactive and unstable, which complicates the analyses.

We have also developed or tested many different rapid analysis methods for non-destructive measurement of the constituents and degree of maturity of fresh plant products.

The most important tools we use for metabolite analysis are extraction and separation technology. Separation of metabolites in a complex sample is done with fluid (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) in connection with various types of detectors such as mass spectrometry (MS) as well as UV, Vis, fluorescence, TI and electrochemical detectors. Using these we can determine the quantity and to a certain degree the structure of molecules.

None Photo: Kjell J. Merok
Copyright: Nofima

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