Scholar presents the effect of coffee roasting to phenolic content and antioxidant activity

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Quezon City – Dr. Ruel M. Mojica of the Cavite State University (CaVSU) presented the findings from his study titled, “Influence of Roasting on Total Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity of Philippine Coffee” in a seminar organized and sponsored by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).

Dr. Mojica, a post-doctoral fellow, is a grantee of the DA-BAR and University of the Philippines Natural Sciences Research Institute (UP-NSRI) under the “Post-Doctoral and Senior Scientist Research Fellowship in Basic Research in Agriculture and Fisheries” program.

His study included four types of coffee: Coffea arabica, considered the best in quality due to its flavor and aroma; Coffea liberica, known locally as Kapeng Barako, which produces the biggest berry; Coffea excelsa, with smoother, thinner, and more rounded leaves with a smooth edge; and Coffea robusta, characterized by a large umbrella-shaped growth and berries closely clustered when ripe.

Coffee, before being consumed, has to undergo a number of processes, one of which is roasting. Proper roasting is an essential step for bringing out the aroma, flavor, and color of coffee. According to Dr. Mojica, the mode of heat transfer and applied temperature profile are the most critical parameters that have major impact on the chemical properties of coffee. During roasting, green beans are heated at 200-240 0C for 10 minutes, depending on the degree of roast required. Coffee is qualitatively assessed for moisture content, for example, with a single categorization as light, medium, dark or very dark roast.

Dr. Mojica presented his results, wherein lightly roasted coffee does indeed produce the highest amount of antioxidants. Antioxidant properties can be found naturally in many foods and beverages that provide health benefits in preventing diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, etc. In the body, antioxidants work by directly reacting with the free radical-donating an electron to the free radicals. Any antioxidant can supply the free radical with a replacement for its missing electron. In this study, it was shown that the degree of roasting strongly affected both the total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of Philippine coffee, and that light roast coffees contain the highest total phenols at all tested varieties.

With this regard, Dr. Mojica proceeded to show that, in the local setting, although there are already several studies on the chemical composition of different coffees, no basic research on coffee has been done. In fact, no studies were reported on the total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of our local blends. Thus, Dr. Mojica’s research was conceptualized and conducted.

He adds that this research can be a useful tool in conducting applied research such as the formulation of special coffee blends with high beneficial effects on health. BAR Asst. Dir. Teodoro Solsoloy in his speech mentioned how Dr. Mojica’s study will benefit the coffee industry and the agriculture sector as a whole given that coffee is an economically important commodity. “Seeing as the Philippines has been importing coffee for the past 10 years, with this research results we can hope to eventually export our own in the near future. Moreover, results of studies, such as this, could pave the way to enhance and promote the competitiveness of Philippine coffee against imported varieties,” he said. (Maria Anna M. Gumapac/DA-BAR)

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