"Synbiotic" ice cream featured on Tuklas UPLB
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The 14th episode of Galing UPLB’s Tuklas UPLB aired on May 13, featured how a group of UPLB researchers reinvented ice cream to make it a healthier option through a partnership with a small business owned by a UPLB food technology alumnus.

According to Asst Prof. Oliveros, the project entitled “Reinventing Ice Cream into a Functional Food Matrix” was inspired by the purple yam or “ubi” powder technology which was also developed in the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST). The product is famous among Los Baños constituents as an alternative to make ube halaya.

The ubi powder was found to have a prebiotic potential through the UPLB basic research of IFST’s director Dr. Lotis Mopera. “Ang ibig sabihin ng prebiotic potential, yung ubi powder, pwede n’ya ma-enhance yung growth ng mga probiotics para mas mag-survive sila sa tiyan natin.” Oliveros explained that in the basic research of Dr. Mopera, the growth of the probiotic microorganisms were enhanced with the presence of the ubi powder.

Ice cream was the product chosen for the project because the UPLB alumnus partner produces ice cream as products for her business. Under DOST’s CRADLE program, HEIs or higher education institutions are required to have industry partners for a collaborative project.

When asked about the difference between the reinvented ice cream and a normal ice cream, Oliveros said that the good thing about the technology is that it may be applied to any flavors of ice cream. The addition of the probiotics and the ubi powder (prebiotics) won’t intervene with the overall flavor profile of the ice cream.

“Kung tatanungin mo yung sa lasa, ang malalasahan mo pa rin talaga is kung ano yung ice cream na mina-market, kunwari kung chocolate flavor siya, chocolate pa rin ang lasa, kung mango, mango pa rin sya.” According to him, the only noticeable effect of the technology is on the “whiteness” of white ice cream due to the addition of ubi.

At present, there is no synbiotic ice cream available in the Philippine market. Synbiotic is a technical term, which means a product has both prebiotics and probiotics. “After talaga ng proyektong ito, maasahan natin na makikita talaga itong synbiotic ice cream sa merkado kasi nag-express na ng commitment yung ating partner MSME to adopt the technology.”

With the government slowly lifting the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSME partner is looking forward to resuming their operations. They are planning to have the synbiotic ice cream available within the year.

Tuklas UPLB airs every second and fourth Friday of the month as part of Radyo DZLB’s Galing UPLB! Program. This program is jointly produced by the UPLB College of Development Communication, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, Office of Public Relations, and Office of Alumni Relations.