Elixir from the Department of Food Plant Chemistry and Processing

Dr Eng. Beata Piłat
Juices, as well as fruit and vegetable drinks, are commonly known. Is it possible to invent anything new in this industry? Yes. Dr Eng. Beata Piłat has applied for a patent on juices with fatty acids of sea buckthorn.

Scientists do not put effort into inventing something new to drink, but they focus on making a drink with desirable properties. Dr Eng. Beata Piłat’s juice, whose formula she wants to patent, is such a drink.

Dr Eng. Beata Piłat from the Department of Food Plant Chemistry and Processing of the Faculty of Food Science devoted her doctoral studies and many years of scientific work to research on sea buckthorn. Common sea buckthorn is also called Russian pineapple. It occurs in Europe and Asia, even in China, mainly along the seashore. It is of great value in having medicinal properties.    

For almost four years, dr Eng. Piłat worked on a research grant, managed by prof. Ryszard Zadernowski, related to developing the no-waste sea buckthorn berry processing technology. She was especially interested in the technical and technological possibilities of processing sea buckthorn berries into intermediate goods and their usage.

Sea buckthorn berries, are one of the few fruits containing a fat in pulp – oleosome. An oleosome is a reserve material in plant cells. This tiny particle contains an energetic material which is used, e.g. while seeds begin to sprout or during cellular respiration. There are different, soluble in fat, bioactive substances in oleosomes. Sea buckthorn accumulates, among others, Omega-7 fatty acids in them. There are many of these acids and they help to heal wounds, bedsores and even ulcers in the digestive tract.     

“There are chemical methods of deriving fat rich in Omega-7 acids from sea buckthorn berry pulp but, as a result of applying them, there is a risk that traces of solvents will remain – after all, sea buckthorn oil is almost a medicine. Together with professor Zadernowski I worked on physical methods for deriving oil from sea buckthorn berry pulp, unfortunately, it is not easy. An oleosome is an ideal composition perfectly protecting its precious content. It took me some time to understand that there’s no point in destroying something that is perfect and that its proper application should be found,” explains Dr Eng. Beata Piłat.   

An oleosome is in the shape of a tiny ball which floats on sea buckthorn juice. Dr Eng. Piłat decided to use this property. Together with her team, she developed the technology to derive oleosomes from sea buckthorn berries. She used derived oleosomes, which look to a great extent like orange butter and have a butter texture, as an additive to fruit juices.  

“A drink which is a mixture of sea buckthorn oleosomes in the quantity of 1 to 20 weight percent and only natural ingredients such as fruit juices, vegetable juices, marine organism extracts, yeast, liquorice, wheat sprouts, spices, etc. provides a consumer with essential nutrients. It has regenerating and strengthening properties. It can be taken by e.g., sportsmen, as a natural nutrient, hard-working manual workers and all the people who take care of their health,” Dr Eng. Piłat explains the use of her invention.     

A drink with sea buckthorn oleosomes will not be her first patent application. Dr Eng. Piłat in co-operation with Szarłat, a company near Łomża, which provides her with fruits for research purposes, has already developed a method of deriving oil from sea buckthorn that is on the market and may be taken as a dietary supplement with dishes and desserts. She is now conducting research on the use of sea buckthorn oleosomes in other forms.  

Lech Kryszałowicz