1.1 Background to the Study
The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is one of the major fruit trees in Egypt (El- Assad et al.,2005). Its production and consumption is growing continuously due to its therapeutic properties beside its high nutritive value (Karagul et al.,2004). Date fruit consumption is an important source of supplying mineral and vitamin elements in a balanced nutrition regime (Al-shahib and Marshall,2003). Research proves that when dates are eaten alone or in mixed meals with plain yoghurt have low glycemic indexes (Yousuf et al.,1996; Miller et al.,2003). The good news is that consumption of dates may also benefit in glycemic and lipid control of diabetic patients (Miller et al., 2002,2005). Lately, several therapeutic virtues are assigned to the date palm and its derivatives. Date fruit has anti tumor activity (Ishurd and Kennedy,2005), antioxidant and anti-mutagenic properties (Vayalil,2002; Mansouri et al.,2005). The fruit has been recommended in folk remedies for the treatment of various infectious diseases and cancers (Duke,1992). Dry date fruits are used in Indian traditional medicine after childbirth as immunostimulant (Puri et al., 2000). Extracts of the dates provided to the women after childbirth stimulate their immune system (Puri et al.,2000). Aqueous date extract was also found to inhibit significantly the lipid per oxidation and protein oxidation in a dose-dependent manner (Al-Laith,2007). Further more, Al-Shahib and Marshall (2003) concluded that, in many ways, dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits. On the other hand, a polysaccharides isolated from dates presented an antitumor activity (Ishurd and Kennedy,2005). Extracts of the pits date decrease quickly and meaningfully the women wrinkles (Bauza et al., 2002).
1.2 Problem Statement
Increased intake of added sugar might increase the risks for obesity, cardiovascular diseases, dental caries, glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and behavioral complications such as hyperactivity in children (Anderson, 1997; Johnson and Yon, 2010). Date has shown to have low glycemic index (Yousuf et al.,1996) which can help solve this problem.It is hoped that processing of date fruit into syrup will improve its consumption.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of the Study is the quality assessment and sensory evaluation of date syrup. This is to be achieved through the following specific objectives:
(i) Determination of the Proximate and chemical composition of the date syrup and
(ii) Microbiological assessment of the date syrup.
1.4 Research Questions
(1) what is date fruit?
(2) what are its economic importance?
(3) why the need to assess the quality of date syrup?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research gives a clear insight into the quality assessment of syrup produced from date fruit. Processing of date fruit into more shelf stable products like syrup will make it more readily available and increase its consumption. The findings of this research will also give an insight into the acceptability of date syrup.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research focuses on the quality assessment and sensory evaluation of syrup produced from date fruit.
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