In Facing the COVID-19, UB Students Create ALERTA to Food Fortification

Malang is famous for its apple production which is dominated by Manalagi apples. Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency of Malang Regency, the number of apples in 2019 reached 140,617,300 kg. In general, apples are only consumed directly or processed into apple chips, while the apple chips industry produces 2 tons of apple skins and hobs per day and is only wasted so that it pollutes the environment or becomes animal feed.

In fact, apple skin contains quercetin which can inhibit the growth of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by binding to 3Cl-Protease which plays a role in the proteolytic activity of this virus. In addition, quercetin can also function as an antioxidant, anticancer, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, cardiovascular protection, and antiviral.

However, quercetin has low stability, so its quality will decrease when treated at high temperatures such as in oven. So that an effective drying machine is needed in maintaining the quercetin levels in Manalagi apple skin waste as fortification of quercetin-rich foods.

Therefore, Verianti Liana and her four colleagues, Putu Yunita Seliyanti, Fidiawati, Della Angelina from the Faculty of Agricultural Technology Universitas Brawijaya (FTP-UB) and Muhammad Mahdi Firdausi from the Faculty of Engineering (FT-UB) innovated the ALERTA prototype under the guidance of Joko Prasetyo, STP , M.Si.

ALERTA (Apple Peel Wastes Dryer Using Electro-osotic Dewatering System and Ultrasound) is a prototype of the main drying machine for Manalagi apple peel waste become food fortification with an electroosmotic dewatering system (without using high temperatures) which is innovated with ultrasonic waves to speed up drying of apple skin pulp so that it can maintain quercetin levels.

Meanwhile, drying the remaining moisture content is continued for a short time with a tray dryer to become Manalagi apple skin powder as food fortification that is beneficial to health and increases body immunity in facing the COVID-19.

This idea has received funding assistance from the Tanoto Student Research Award (TSRA) in the field of Cipta Karsa. Verianti Liana and her team hope that ALERTA can be a solution to realize SDGs point 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), increasing added value for Manalagi apple skin waste, and play a role in enhancing consumer immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic. [Alerta / Humas UB/ Trans. Iir]