A GROUP of Wits academics are launching a line of yoghurt and vitamin waters infused with extracts from a tree found in Africa, the product of five years of research.
The yoghurts and vitamin waters are infused with Moringa and are being sold through an enterprise called Extra Green.
Extra Green was founded by Prof Luke Chimuka of the Wits School of Chemistry over five years ago when he first patented the idea. Since then, Chimuka has lead an interdisciplinary team of four distinguished academics to research, extract and develop the Moringa plant products.
Moringa is a drought-resistant tree that “is originally from India but is cultivated in many African countries and has nutrients and vitamins that are more than vegetables and fruits combined,” said PhD student and member of the research team, Charlene Makita.
The plant has herbal, medicinal and nutritional value, which makes it a healthy substitute for ordinary yoghurt or water.
Over and above the nutritional value, Extra Green products are also eco-friendly. “It is based on an extraction system called Pressurised Hot Water Extraction,” said chemical engineering lecturer and fellow researcher Dr David Ming. This is an extraction technique that makes use of boiling water to separate the various elements of the plant.
The team have infused the Moringa extracts into a yoghurt which is available in four different flavours, as well as vitamin water.
“We found that adding the extract to water or yoghurt increases the nutritional content of those products,” said Makita.
The Moringa-infused yoghurt and vitamin water products can be found on campus at the Student’s Corner in the Matrix as well as a shop in Newtown. The infographic below contains some interesting facts about the Moringa tree.
For more information visit www.extragreen.co.za or @extragreenza on Twitter.
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