ThE BANANA is one of the Filipino’s palate-pleasers, and so is the burger. Now try imagining the two together.

Musa balbisiana, also known as the local saba, is a good source of crude fiber, which can be used in enhancing the taste of beef burger patties, an undergraduate thesis by four food technology graduates suggests.

“Banana fibers are locally available and abundant in the Philippines so we thought of using banana peelings as an alternative to Qualicel (fibers from bamboo shoots) which is already globally used (to enhance the structure and taste of burger patties),” said Gladys Ato, one of the researchers.

Using banana peelings as another option is more environment-friendly and health-friendly as it is cost-efficient compared to using bamboo shoots, Ato said.

“Burgers with banana fibers are better. It helps lessen the fat content of meat patties,” said Eva Olarte, a Nutrition and Dietetics professor at the College of Education.

The researchers, Gladys Ato, Hazel Rose De Leon, Charisse Yvel Molina and Ma. Daphne Moraleda, chopped banana peelings, placed them in 40-degree-celsius water, then squeezed them to extract the fibers.

After drying the fibers, the researchers tested their chemical and physical characteristics to determine their compatibility with the beef burger patties.

According to the study, banana fibers can supply the daily dietary fiber need of a person. The banana fibers also absorb water, which prevent contamination, the study showed.

“The burger patties have low water activity,” Ato said. “Microorganisms have a slim chance of contaminating the fiber, even in low temperature.”

The water activity is crucial because it determines the shelf life of the food, its color, taste, and aroma.

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A high emulsifying activity (binding of oil and water) resulting from the incorporation of banana fibers also makes burger patties more juicy and tender, the researchers discovered.

When the researchers compared the Qualicel-type patty with their banana patty, both had similar color, aroma, and texture.

The researchers identified the ideal amount of banana fibers, (five per cent) to be mixed in beef burger patties. But the thesis panelists favored the two per cent banana fiber mix due to its tenderness.

“The thesis showed cost reduction (of resources) which is truly helpful for our country,” said Evelyn Ladines, Department of Food Technology chair. Banana fiber is a good alternative source for burger patties for a better health, she said. Marie Ghiselle V. Villorente

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