Fermentation technology for ‘nicer’ coconut water

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BY ASMAHANIM AMIR

A RESEARCH TEAM from the National University of Malaysia (UKM) has successfully developed a cutting edge technology which removes turbudity in matured coconut water.

Known for its cloudy and poor quality, turbid coconut water is not marketable as a beverage. The research team applied fermentation method to remove turbidity and made the beverage safer to drink.

The collaboration started a year ago with Linaco Resources Sdn.Bhd. (Linaco), the largest producer of coconut based products in Malaysia. The research team was led by Dr Lim Seng Joe from UKM.

“We applied the fermentation method to get rid turbudity out of the coconut water. The process has turned the water into a safe and commercial product.

Prior to the research, we found out the factory that produced the coconut water was not able to keep it in the good condition. The water is still turbid and therefore it has to go through water treatment process which can approximately reach two tons of disposal per day. This cost a huge loss to the company,” he said.

Lim added that they bring the laboratory technology to the factory so that the product has a full potential around the globe.

“We only develop technology for Linaco but we do not manufacture products. The product has the potential to penetrate international market especially in China and Europe,” he said.

The other research team member, Dr. Shazrul Fazry, reiterated the fermentation technology does not only solve the problem of wanturing matured coconut water, but consumers could also benefit from the nutritious product.

“The idea to use yeast and bacteria proved to be right. After some trials we found it viable and then we developed into a product. Some prototypes of the fermented coconut water were given to Linaco for samples. Both UKM and Linaco are convinced that the product can find the niche in the market,” he said.

The collaboration went to another level where UKM (UKM Technology Sdn Bhd) and Linaco come to terms with signing the Technology Licensing Agreement (TLA). The team main responsibility is to advise Linaco on the technological development of the product as well as to scale up its production capacity commercially.

The other team members, Prof. Dr. Wan Aida Wan Mustapha and Dr. Babul Airianah Othman are also celebrating the success of the research project.