Voltaire Sant Anna pursued his Food Engineering; PhD in Chemical Engineering from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) respectively. He has published more than 40 papers dealing with food science and technology in reputed journals. Currently, he is working on mathematical modeling and optimization of relevant subjects for food industries
The objective of the work is to perform the processing of cattail (Typha domingensis), an unconventional edible plant from southern Brazil and to characterize it for its potential to be sodium chloride substitute in food applications. Samples of the plant palm heart were washed, dried at 60ºC, crushed and standardized in 1 mm aperture sieves. These samples were submitted to alcoholic extraction for spectrophotometric analysis of total polyphenols, flavonols, tartaric esters and antioxidant capacity of ABTS and DPPH radicals and anti-hypertensive activity; and aqueous extraction, for the evaluation of antibacterial activity. Dried cattail was also evaluated for its pH, apparent density, water and oil absorption capacity. Sensorial intensity tests were used to evaluate the saltiness power of cattail in relation to the use of light salt, using brown rice as a vehicle. The results show that the aqueous cattail extract did not inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis and Escherichia coli. The concentrations of total polyphenols, flavonols and tartaric esters were 1,160.53±82.04 mg of gallic acid equivalent, 35.71±2.18 mg of equivalent routine and 48.08±0.85 mg of equivalent coffee equivalent per dry bagasse, respectively. The alcoholic extract also showed the capacity to scavenge 97.56±1.37% and 88.14±15.41% of ABTS and DPPH radicals, respectively. Cattail extract anti-hypertensive activity was 75.59±3.69%. The cattail presented pH of 4.15±0.12, apparent density of 6.783±0.621 kg/m3, water absorption of 13.158±0.406 g and oil of 8.974±0.650 g per gram of dry plant. Sensory analysis indicated that it is possible to increase the concentration of cattail in the formulation of a light salt without losing its salting power (P>0.05). Thus, although more studies are needed, there is a strong evidence that cattail can be used as a functional ingredient in food applications and may be a substitute for sodium chloride for salting food.