Antioxidant sources such as the tropical pink guava fruit, therefore, are known to offer a number of health benefits. Guava contains lycopene, but the number of studies that focus on this as a subject are few and far between. But now, things may be about to change for the better.
In a new study, a team of researchers has now tried to find the optimal extraction techniques of lycopene from Psidium guajava L. (guava). The results of their experiments have been published in the IOSR Journal of Environmental Science, Toxicology and Food Technology.
To better understand why exactly the researchers decided to focus on finding a better method of lycopene extraction, and not only that but maximizing it as much as possible, it's important to know what lycopene is and what it does. Lycopene is a natural pigment that belongs to the carotenoid family and is known to give the color red to a lot of fruits such as guava.
But it isn't just a cosmetic addition to guava. It is known to be quite an efficient scavenger of free radicals, which in turn makes it a useful and effective antioxidant.
Again, lycopene itself is fairly well-understood, but most of the studies that focus on it are based on lycopene that had been extracted from tomato. Meanwhile, there are relatively fewer studies on it as a guava extract. So the researchers saw an opportunity, and they decided to change that.
Immediately, the researchers had their work cut out for them. Lycopene is said to be insoluble in water, and two of the main problems that pop up in its extraction and purification are solubility and stability. So they looked for ways to go around this.
The researchers found that they could achieve optimum extraction through the use of petroleum ether along with guava puree-to-deionized water ratio of 40 percent using 15 milliliters of water.
The researchers also found that they could achieve the best results after at least four extractions, which allowed them to maximize the amount of lycopene recovered and minimize the use of organic solvent at the same time.
After conducting all of their experiments, the researchers were able to determine that lycopene was indeed among the good antioxidants. And as for Psidium guajava, the researchers concluded that its widespread use in the food industry is a good thing, as their results show that claims about the health benefits of products derived from guava are not unfounded.
As it turns out, the conventional wisdom about tropical pink guavas – and their supposed health benefits – is indeed correct. And they are not just beneficial for one's own health, they're highly nutritional as well.