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Application of innovative beverage fermentation technology to plums and selected berries
This study focused on alcoholic fermented fruit beverages that were produced from various types of fruit, value addition and thus potentially increasing the diversity of commercially available fruit wines. Non-grape alcoholic fermented fruit beverages is a complex mixture of water, alcohol, and other components, that are either initially present in the fruit, or are formed during the fermentation process. The evaluation of wine and similar fermented products quality is important for manufacturers and consumers. The routine analysis of alcoholic fermented fruit beverages acts as an important tool that is useful for wine classification, quality control and sensory evaluation. Therefore, the aims of this study were (1) to measure methanol, ethanol, titratable acidity, objective colour, total soluble solids and sensory profile as a function of yeast strain and percentage pulp in order to adapt existing technologies toward producing new fermented fruit beverage products using plums, an under-utilized agricultural produce; and (2) to measure methanol, ethanol, titratable acidity, objective colour, total soluble solids and sensory profile as a function of yeast strain, pulp percentage and sugar levels in order to adapt existing technologies toward producing new fermented fruit beverages based on red and white wine styles, while applying the technology developed in the first part of the study using red-fleshed plums, blueberries and blackberries. The independent variables (ID) were yeast strains (1) Saccharomyces cerevisiae VIN13, (2) Saccharomyces cerevisiae NT116, and (3) Saccharomyces bayanus N96, with formulations containing percentage pulp concentrations at (40%, 50% and 60%). The dependent variables (DV) constituted key quality parameters for white and red wine style, namely methanol, ethanol, titratable acidity, objective colour, total soluble solids, pH and sensory profile were measured. The optimal combination of independent variables was ascertained and in terms of the overall consumer response, for the red-fleshed plum beverage sample treatment N 96, 60% pulp showed the highest preference amongst consumers. In terms of the other dependent variables, namely methanol, ethanol, titratable acidity, objective colour, total soluble solids, pH and sensory profiles of alcoholic fermented fruit beverages based on white and red wine styles. The processing conditions developed and applied in this study towards the development of alcoholic fermented beverages utilizing plums and selected berries demonstrated ways of improving the utilization of fruit commodities by developing niche products. Hence, the development of alcoholic fermented beverages utilizing (plums and selected berries) showed potential for micro agro-industries, as well as the impact on its potential role in employment creation and income generation.