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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Versatile tamarind

When the hard shell of a tamarind pod is peeled off, it reveals a reddish-brown coloured pulp. While the sweet and mildly tangy pulp is a refreshing snack and can be used for cooking, juice or even candy, the seeds — which are the by-products — were always regarded as waste.

Despite this, about a decade ago, one man looked at the tamarind seeds differently and took them on as the topic of his research. Today, thanks to the efforts of Assoc Prof Woatthichai Narkrugsa from the Faculty of Food-Industry of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, he and his research team extract xyloglucan — hemicellulose that acts as a gelling and thickening agent — from tamarind seeds. The gelation properties of tamarind seeds can be used for a wide range of applications that benefit the food, textile, medical,…

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