GUWAHATI, Dec 24 - The indigenous rice beer of the North East produced and consumed by the region�s ethnic communities is set to hit global supermarkets, thanks to a first-of-its-kind technology transfer on traditional beverage effected by the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati.
IASST has signed a technology transfer MoU with Golden Beverages for producing red wine from the aromatic black rice of Manipur.
�Beyond basic nutrition, the traditional rice beer is known to confer health benefits like immune modulation, improved digestion and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders. However, the lack of scientific intervention and commercialisation has confined the availability of the beverage with ethnic flavour and taste to a smaller segment of the population,� Dr Mojibur Khan of IASST, who led a group of researchers in experimenting how the traditional beverage affects overall health of the consumers, told The Assam Tribune.
The results from the experimentation that used different research models indicated that the beverage modulates the microbes residing in the intestinal tract and the fermentation process brings biochemical changes in the beverage resulting in a composite of nutraceuticals and healthy bacteria known as probiotics.
�As the process of preparing the beverage remains a traditional culinary practice and a quality-controlled uniform product is away from the market, and also considering the commercial aspects of such beverages in countries like Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, etc., we tried to optimise the fermentation process using several indigenous rice varieties under hygienic laboratory conditions,� Khan said.
Interestingly, the beverage prepared using the aromatic black rice of Manipur showed promising biochemical properties and a patent was filed for the process by Khan and his PhD student Bhuwan Bhaskar. The research was funded by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) under the Promoting Academic Research Conversion to Enterprise (PACE) scheme.
Under the research, a pilot-scale fermentation process was optimised for the production of a beverage. �The anthocyanins in the wine give the attractive colour and the fermentation process brings appealing taste and aroma. Also, it is rich in antioxidant content (Cyanidin and Delphinidin) and is organoleptically identical to red wine,� Khan said, adding that several biochemical properties were analysed in IASST as well as in other laboratories including FSSAI.
The beverage was also subjected to sensory analysis with volunteers to evaluate the consumer choices as well as market accountability.
�The results indicated a considerable demand and commercialization of the beverage was of utmost need. Through the MoU that will enable pilot-scale production of the beverage, we expect such artisanal drinks to reach the supermarkets,� Khan said.
The MoU was signed on Wednesday in the presence of IASST director Prof Ashis K Mukherjee, and Hamendra Chandra Das and Dr Rahul Deori of Golden Beverages. Also present was Dr D Chaudhury of BioNEST where the pilot-scale production of the traditional beverage will be initiated.