Mexicans will use solar energy to process foods

By Valeria Bigurra Peñavera

Scientists have developed a project that will seek a positive impact within the food industry.

A group of researchers from the Faculty of Chemical Sciences (FCQ) of the Autonomous University of Coahuila (Uadec) is working on a project that seeks to use solar energy to develop eco-food processing.

alimentos Original image: "La Cocina Solar”by Agencia Informativa Conacyt, under CC BY 4.0.

The sun is a source of inexhaustible energy and therefore an element that can facilitate costs and processes, in this case, within the food industry, and because Mexico is a country with a good level of solar radiation, this is a great area of opportunity.

Researchers have used solar energy to process food, however it is still necessary to develop technologies and procedures that are more sustainable to be applied on an industrial scale and thus have a greater competitiveness.

Currently the processes have been successfully carried out at a micro level, but it is still necessary to recognize the physicochemical or biological changes that can occur during food processing, in order to relate the study to an improvement in the production of healthier foods.

alimentos2Original image: "La Cocina Solar”by Agencia Informativa Conacyt, under CC BY 4.0.

This research also seeks to use solar technology on materials or solutions to avoid or improve new products and processes such as the use of dyes, food pasteurization, food cooking and even fry under vacuum and under solar cooking.

According to the researchers, one of the biggest advantages of this project is sustainability, since the sunlight is inexhaustible and its use is friendly to the environment and is economically more accessible for all.

The study so far has focused mainly on carbohydrates, in order to know the impact of solar energy on the physicochemical changes of carbohydrates in food.

alimentos 3Original image: "La Cocina Solar”by Agencia Informativa Conacyt, under CC BY 4.0.

Researchers will then seek the combination of solar energy with other elements, and even hope to introduce thermostable enzymes that can carry out biological reactions in conjunction with solar energy.

According to specialists, we must take advantage of this technology, so that we can develop and improve the uptake of solar energy to direct it to the sectors where it can be used, which are many.

Finally they added that in social question this technology has a great future and can be used by isolated communities, in which the only source of energy is the sun.

The future of the project for now is to apply various experimental strategies in specific models where solar energy is used to generate new procedures for obtaining chemical additives, food ingredients or even the creation of new foods.

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