Uncovering the Browning Process of Ginger Through Advanced Analysis

Jenn Hoskins
3rd May, 2024

Uncovering the Browning Process of Ginger Through Advanced Analysis

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Anhui University found that peeling ginger leads to browning and quality loss
  • The study showed a decrease in health-promoting compounds like chlorogenic acid after peeling
  • An increase in enzymes causing hardness and color change in ginger was also observed
Ginger, a root with a spicy flavor and aromatic scent, is not only a staple in the kitchen but also a source of nutrition. While it's often used fresh, many culinary and medicinal products require the removal of its outer skin. However, this process can lead to browning, which affects the ginger's quality and its potential health benefits. The latest research from the Anhui University of Chinese Medicine[1] has delved into the browning mechanism of ginger after scraping, providing insights that could help preserve the quality of ginger in food processing. When ginger is peeled and exposed to air, it starts to brown, similar to what happens with apples or potatoes. This browning is not just a cosmetic problem; it can alter the taste and reduce the health-promoting properties of ginger. The study used advanced techniques to analyze the changes at the molecular level in ginger over time after the skin was removed. Researchers identified significant changes in metabolites and genes between fresh ginger, ginger that had browned for 5 days, and ginger that had browned for 15 days. Metabolites are small molecules involved in the metabolism of an organism, and their changes can indicate alterations in the ginger's chemical composition. The study found that the levels of certain phenolic compounds, which are known for their antioxidant properties, decreased after scraping. This included chlorogenic acid and ferulic acid, both of which are also involved in the browning of other fruits and vegetables, as seen in apples[2] and lettuce[3]. Furthermore, the study highlighted an increase in the activity of enzymes such as polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and peroxidase (POD). These enzymes can lead to the polymerization of phenolic compounds, a process that contributes to the hardening or lignification of the ginger tissue, making it tougher and affecting its color. This finding is consistent with the enzymatic browning observed in other studies on fruits and nuts[2][4], where PPO played a central role. Interestingly, the study also observed a decrease in the ginger indicator component, 6-gingerol, which is responsible for many of the root's health benefits. This decrease could be due to the transformation of these compounds into other substances as part of the browning process. The research not only adds to our understanding of ginger's browning but also builds upon previous work that has demonstrated the importance of phenolic compounds and PPO in the browning of various plant-based foods[2][3][4]. The combined approach of metabolomics and transcriptomics allowed the researchers to paint a comprehensive picture of the browning process. Metabolomics is the study of metabolites in a biological system, while transcriptomics involves the analysis of all the RNA molecules within a cell or organism. By examining both the metabolites and gene expression levels, the study provided a dual perspective on the chemical and genetic changes that occur during ginger's browning. This research has practical applications for the food industry. Understanding the factors that cause ginger to brown can lead to better processing methods that preserve its quality and nutritional value. For instance, adjustments in storage conditions or the application of treatments that inhibit PPO and POD activities could help maintain ginger's freshness and potency. In conclusion, the study from Anhui University of Chinese Medicine sheds light on the complex changes that ginger undergoes after scraping. By identifying the key metabolic and genetic shifts, this research offers a pathway to improving post-harvest handling and processing of ginger, ensuring that this valued root maintains its culinary and health-promoting qualities for consumers worldwide.

GeneticsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Integrated non-targeted metabolomics and transcriptomics reveals the browning mechanism of scraped ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.).

Published 30th April, 2024


Related Studies

2) Chitosan Treatment Promotes Wound Healing of Apple by Eliciting Phenylpropanoid Pathway and Enzymatic Browning of Wounds.


3) Targeted Metabolomics Analysis and Identification of Biomarkers for Predicting Browning of Fresh-Cut Lettuce.


4) Study on the browning mechanism of betel nut (Betel catechu L.) kernel.


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