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Group 1-41
Project Title Investigating the effect of Herbal Extracts in Food Preservation

About 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost annually, which is about one-third of the food produced for human consumption. In developing countries, causes for food losses include financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage, cooling facilities, or even infrastructure. Herbal extracts are found to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and we aim to create a safe, cost effective method of extending the shelf life of food using herbal extracts. We hypothesize that Zingiber officinale rhizome extract could have the highest antimicrobial action, while Cymbopogon citratus extract could have the highest antioxidant levels. We did three tests, namely, the anti-oxidant test, the well diffusion test, and the leaf rot assay. Based on our tests, we found out no relation between the antioxidants and the preservation of vegetables. We also worked with Lactuca sativa 'Iceberg' leaves during our leaf rot assay, and found that Rosmarinus officinalis had the most antimicrobial properties, followed by Cymbopogon citratus. This is different from the results obtained in our well diffusion test, where only fresh samples exhibited antimicrobial activities. From our results, we conclude that Rosmarinus officinalis has the best antimicrobial activities, and that it is better in its fresh samples than the samples that were purchased from the supermarket, making our hypothesis invalid.

(210 words)

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