QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 77 - Page 18

Juicy research shows Scottish weed has superfruit qualities Food and drink experts at QMU have used the berries from an invasive thorny plant to create a new Scottish superfruit drink. S CIENTISTS FROM QMU have worked with an artisan juice producer to develop a seasonal drink using berries from sea buckthorn, a bush which is often regarded as a weed. Together, Cuddybridge, a small Scottish hand-pressed apple juice producer, and QMU, have produced a unique sea buckthorn and apple juice combo which has been proven to be high in antioxidants. The work with Cuddybridge builds on previous nutritional analysis carried out at QMU. This confirmed that sea buckthorn, which is bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and essential minerals, is truly a Scottish superfruit. However, the Scots have not yet exploited the nutritional benefits of sea buckthorn due to the problems associated with its harvesting and the often bitter taste of the berries. The fruit contains high levels of vitamins C and E: the concentration of vitamin C in the fruit is higher than that in strawberry, kiwi, orange, tomato and carrot, and the vitamin E content is higher than that found in wheat embryo, safflower, maize and soybean. Popular in China, Norway and Russia, it can be used for consumption and topical application. However, in Scotland it is often viewed as an invasive thorny plant which is a prolific grower and is favoured more for its environmental 18 QMYOU / Knowledge Exchange benefits than its nutritional and curative qualities. It can normally be found growing in Scottish coastal areas near sand dunes, particularly in East Lothian. If planted correctly it can help stabilise sand dunes next to golf courses, preserve areas of natural interest from human interference, and protect other plants by reducing salt spray produced by cars. Since 2008, QMU had been researching the nutritional properties of sea buckthorn and has run various trials for small food producers who are looking to enhance the nutritional content of their products whilst also adding a Scottish twist. Graham Stoddart, Cuddybridge owner, explained: “Although the properties of apple juice are well documented, the effects of sea buckthorn, with its excellent antioxidant properties, and its application for the fresh juice market when mixed with apples, have little or no documentation.”