Friday, December 5, 2008 [ spanish version ]
In Puerto Rico, buttermilk, the leftover liquid after cheese has been produced, is not used. However, this sub-product has a lot of potential since its protein content is very high.
A group of UPRM students are trying to create a drink using this buttermilk and probiotics, microorganisms that have properties that benefit the digestive process.
The investigation process takes place in the Dairy Products Laboratory of the Department of Livestock Industry (INPE) of the College of Agricultural Sciences (CCA by its Spanish acronym) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM).
Students can count on having more equipment for their research thanks to a $138,740.00 donation awarded by the Tres Monjitas Dairy Farm Foundation, to be used in the laboratory’s amplification. This will include new installations for the Center of Innovation and Agro-Industry Technology, (CITAI, by its Spanish acronym).
“At the laboratory we are proposing to develop new products and to train community members that have an interest in the elaboration of these products,” doctor Leyda Ponce de León González, INPE professor and laboratory coordinator, informed UPRM Press TV.
She mentioned that among the other products being created are: artisan cheeses, various forms of fermented milk such as ice creams, and yogurts with tropical fruit flavors.
She indicated that these projects, such as the one trying to create a drink using buttermilk, also contribute to the environment. “Many products discard material that ends up in water sources, but at the same time this material contains important nutrients, and with this project we are trying to use this fluid in other ways.”
Besides the research component, the laboratory will be utilized as a classroom for undergraduate and graduate students. Short courses will be offered to individuals and businesses. It will serve as an incubator for businesses as well.
Tres Monjitas Dairy Farm Foundation announced their contribution at a press conference that took place on Monday, December 1st in the Chancellor’s Office at UPRM. At the conference, president of the University of Puerto Rico, Antonio García Padilla, UPRM chancellor, doctor Jorge Iván Vélez Arocho and Tres Monjitas president, Jaime Fonalledas, signed the collaborative agreement.
“It is important that we are conscious of the fact that the industry alone cannot expand. It’s with initiatives like this one, at the University of Puerto Rico, where we can assure that future generations are going to be prepared for the changes that need to occur to improve and reach greater efficiency in the areas of agriculture and technological development,” Fonalledas stated.
García Padilla indicated “contributions such as this one highlight the possible impact that comes from having a philanthropy, at a time when the generation of resources is necessary to improve the quality of public education in Puerto Rico.”
UPRM chancellor, Jorge Iván Vélez Arocho, sustained that the “investigations in food science and technology are a strategic area for the College of Agricultural Sciences and for the economic development of Puerto Rico. The laboratory that will be established with this contribution will effectively contribute to complete the center of investigations objective.”
Doctor John Fernández Van Cleve, CCA’s Dean, José LaTorre, INPE Director, and Edna Negrón, CITAI Director, also participated in the conference. Marisara Pont, member of the Council of UPR Sindicates attended the conference as well. Some managers of Tres Monjitas were also present.
University of Puerto Rico President, Antonio García Padilla (to the left) signs a collaborative agreement with the company Tres Monjitas (Three nuns). Beside him sit, UPRM Chancellor Jorge Iván Vélez Arocho and Jaime Fonalledas. (Photo by Edwin Ramos).
(From the left) Leyda Ponce de León, Antonio García Padilla, Jorge I. Vélez Arocho, Jaime Fonalledas, Juan Corrada, Thomas Trebilcock, Edna Negrón, John Fernández van Cleve and José R. LaTorre. (Photo by Edwin Ramos).
Student Wilfredo Mercado (to the right) offers Juan Corrada, manager of the Tres Monjitas Dairy Farm, a sample of “requesón gitano” (type of cheese), made by the students.
Graduate student, Minerva Rivera explains to Tres Monjitas executives and university officials about the investigations carried out in the Dairy Products Laboratory.
Photographs by Carlos Díaz / UPRM Press
Front page photo by Edwin Ramos