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Thursday, February 9, 2023

A powdered melon juice to help the peasants

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Quitzé Fernández
Quitzé Fernándezhttps://www.amonite.com.mx
Amonite es un sitio dedicado a la divulgación científica para niños y jóvenes. Somos un grupo de amigos que escucha, cuenta historias y las plasma en algo parecido a un papel. Por medio de la ilustración y los medios audiovisuales buscamos acercar las novedades de ciencia y tecnología con un lenguaje accesible para todos. Amonite es un proyecto binacional editado y diseñado entre México y Argentina. Nace en 2017 a iniciativa de Quitzé Fernández, quien obtuvo en 2013 el Premio Nacional de Periodismo y Divulgación Científica, convocado por el Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de México (Conacyt), con la crónica La mujer que encontró dinosaurios en el patio de su casa. A él se unieron los ilustradores Daniel Galindo y Jess Silva, que han generado trabajo visual para diarios e instituciones del norte de México; y más adelante los periodistas José Juan Zapata y Jessica Jaramillo, en la edición y generación de contenido, desde Buenos Aires, Argentina. Todos ellos forman parte del staff permanente de Amonite, junto a un grupo de colaboradores que aportan sus visiones periodísticas, visuales y literarias del mundo de la ciencia.

Illustration: Carolina Robles

Ana Paola Jáuregui developed a natural powdered melon drink to support workers in the agricultural fields of Coahuila and Durango.

Ana Paola always wanted to study a career that would help her save the world. And her world, as a child, was the farms and fields of fruit and vegetables that abound in the Comarca Lagunera. Sometimes the heat was so strong that a slice of melon , or water from this fruit, refreshed the moment next to dad.

Years later, he would develop a powdered natural melon drink , partly to support workers in the agricultural fields of the northern Mexican states of Coahuila and Durango .

It called his attention how the melon grew in the field, its vines; the people who loaded the fruit into trucks to take them to the city. She met all these scenarios when she accompanied Valentín , her father, an agronomist who took her to work to spend as much time as possible together.

– In the part of the city I saw a lot how the little trucks were on all the corners, they started selling the bag with 5 melons at 20 pesos, and then three days later it was already at 15 pesos and so on until the melon rotted . Once there was a protest because self-service stores did not want to buy peasants, they went and threw all the melons at the Matamoros and Torreón Presidencies. That’s when I started to get a little more interested.

Ana Paola Jáuregui Fuentes studied engineering at Bionegocios and worked in the food industry, in charge of quality research and development departments. During the start of the pandemic, his father passed away and, given the family situation he was going through, he decided to start a business. The first step was to study for a master’s degree in biochemistry, while developing The Yum Lab , a company focused on development consulting food. In her studies, advised by professors from the Autonomous University of Coahuila , she devised the concept of powdered melon.

–Since I was little I grew up seeing this problem of melon, of the producers that their product was spoiled, and I always had the concern that something had to be done . So I wanted to have a social enterprise. It was like how it all came about.

First he thought of some fermented drink, but when he learned about spray dryer technology, his vision changed.

–With this technology, what you do is dry the melon and almost 90 percent of the melon is water . It goes through a bed, first it has to become liquid and from the liquid, all the water and all the total solids evaporate. Nutritionally speaking, the melon remains encapsulated and that is what remains as powder. What we do is convert from a liquid to a solid.

Illustration: Carolina Robles

The project, said Ana Paola, consists of working with the so-called “pachanga” melon, which is the product that commercially has no value, because it is small, it is damaged and it is not attractive for sale in stores, but it still has a good flavor . and is generally used to feed cattle . She turns this melon into a liquid, then it is passed through the spray dryer and in the end all the nutrients are dry.

Ana Paola Jáuregui decided to enter the contest “forces that undertake“, organized by CANACINTRA Torreón, with the study “Valuation of melon cultivation to reduce post-harvest loss of producers in the Comarca Lagunera through the development of powdered juices by spray drying”, in which he gave the judges a taste of a powdered drink to melon base. And he won .

He received an economic stimulus that he will invest in the development of his drink, with a vision of social entrepreneurship.

–We want to establish ourselves in Torreón, or in Matamoros because strategically it is better there, we want to start with melons so that they can also be bought at a fair price, in a more regulated trade. And we want that juice to make it a functional drink and add some kind of nutrient like probiotics or electrolytes.

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