/ 27 May 2022

RESEARCHERS from the University of the Philippines developed a cheap, user-friendly and robust paper-based device that can be used by small and medium enterprises to determine the total polyphenol content of tea-based beverages.

The Department of Science and Technology said that the study focused on the sweet potato leaf extract-based tea beverage products.

Titled “Paper-based Device for the Detection and Quantification of Total Polyphenols in Plant-based Beverages for Potential Use in Quality Assurance Purposes,” a team of researchers saw the need for local manufacturers to assess the polyphenol content of their product to ensure food quality.

Since such assessment devices are often costly, the team developed a similar device that is reliable and affordable.

“Without proper quality control, these enterprises are unable to export their products. That’s why there is a need to develop an inexpensive, robust, and easy to-use quantification technique that SMEs may use to ascertain TPC in their products,” Riann Martin Sarza, one of the researchers, said.

Polyphenols are compounds known for their health benefits, such as protection against heart disease, type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

It also aids in maintaining good digestion.

Because the health benefits from polyphenols are commonly found in plants, market demand is increasing and so is the steady increase in the manufacture of polyphenol-rich, plant-based food products, especially beverages.

“This paper-based device developed by our Filipino researchers can be an alternative to the conventional TCP instruments. These PBDs can provide analysis while offering the advantages of simplicity in terms of fabrication and use, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility to users,” the DOST said.

“While the features of the PBD may still be improved, given its current performance, it can already be used in the quality control process of SMEs,” Cynthia Gregorio, another researcher, said.