Monitoring of powders dispersion in bakeries and evolution of antioxidants during the production of bakery products

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An allergy to flour presents multiform medical cases whose etiopathogenesis recognizes the relationship between inhalation of indoor allergens and reaction by the organism (i.e., sensitivity). In a recent survey, a group of Italian researchers (Trani et al., 2012), have analyzed the sampling method, the identification of environmental dose and characterization of powders in an artisan bakery in which an occupational disease such as powder and cereals flour allergy has been identified and recognised, with the purpose of obtaining precautionary management protocol for the occurrence of this pathology. Specifically, the concentration of powders was continuously recorded by ad hoc  deposimeters while chemical-analytical investigations on samples of flour used in the production cycle have provided qualitative information for the evaluation of powder dispersion and their characterization. The integration of an electronic device, characterized by the measure’s reliability and low cost of implementation, has also supported the development and evaluation of the environmental monitoring system. Despite what noted in literature, and what is predictable according to air dispersion of flour, the authors point out that the most dusty areas aren’t the ones where the stages of kneading and cleaning of machinery and counter tops are carried out, probably because flour is brought down by the water of the dough and ambiance dust is removed by vacuum fans. In contrast, powder concentration was high during the activities carried out in the laboratory (in particular, during the sprinkling of flour on dough to be cooked and already cooked (placed on the tops to be dried) as well as during the chopping of dry products). According to the authors, to limit powder inhalation by the operators, in these areas the use of DIP (dust mask) and environmental prevention with a localized forced suction system or removal of powders with spraying water seem appropriate. In conclusion, the survey suggests that the environmental control system used in the analysis can be usefully used in other food systems where there are similar situations.

Evolution of antioxidant compounds in the production of bread and biscuits
Baked goods are present in significant quantities in our diet (approximately 43 kg per capita per annum for bread). As a result, even small variations in their quality have a significant impact on nutrition and consumers’ health. The goal of a recent study, carried out by a group of Italian researchers (Hidalgo et al., 2011), was to evaluate the evolution of antioxidant compounds (carotenoids and tocols) and the thermal damage during the production of bread and biscuits produced using different types of wheat flour. The survey analyzed the effects from raw materials, identifying, at the same time, the critical phases of production processes. In particular, the samples were prepared with flours of Triticum monococcum, T. durum and T. aestivum.  The quantification of carotenoids, tocols, furosine, glucosilisomaltolo (GLI), hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and reducing agents was made using chromatographic analysis (HPLC), while the amylasic activity was evaluated through enzymatic action. The results show that carotenoids and tocols degrade during the whole production process. Furthermore, critical phases for carotenoids are mixing and cooking, while in the case of tocols the most relevant losses occur during mixing. Furosine concentrations, GLI and HMF only rise during baking. The highest levels of furosine were detected in the bread crust, followed by biscuits and crumb; GLI presence has been found both in bread crust and biscuits, while that of HMF has been limited to the crust. Products made from T. monococcum flour have greater amounts of carotenoids and tocols due to higher concentration in starting flours and less degradation for the limited lipoxigenase activities of this kind of flour. These products also show lower levels of furosine, GLI and HMF due to low alpha-amylase activity and, therefore, low maltose presence in dough. In summary, the study has shown that in bread and biscuits ofT. monococcum the nutritional value of flours is preserved better than in those obtained from other types of flour.

Bibliographic references
G. Trani et al., Convegno Nazionale SNOP, Bologna, 14-15 November 2012
A. Hidalgo et al., Atti dell’8° Convegno AISTEC, Aci Castello (CT), 11-13 May 2011,64-67

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