Tokyo College of Biotechnology has partnered with Kazusa DNA Research Institute and Chiba Nosan Corporation to engage in a cooperative graduation research project involving corporate, government, and academic entities. Commencement of the project has already been announced on Kazusa DNA Research Institute’s website.
The current research project will focus on development of processed foods using green papayas grown in Chiba Prefecture. Green papayas are eaten in Africa and warm regions in Japan such as Okinawa and Kagoshima, and they are harvested before they ripen when they are still yellow in color. They are normally eaten in a manner similar to vegetables, and we have learned they have higher nutritional value than fruit and are rich in vitamin C and polyphenol.
These nutrients have shown to be effective for beauty and diets while possessing antioxidant capabilities, boosting the immune system, and suppressing carcinogens. It has also been confirmed that the fruit also contains significant amounts of papain, a protease found in green papayas. The components of papain have a broad range of applications. They can break down keratin which means it can be used for skin care products, and they can break down and soften hard muscle fibers, lending it to uses such as special flour for deep fried foods.
The current research project will work on developing cooking methods that take advantage of these properties and functional components as well as increasing recognition of green papayas and developing effective applications. The partners intend to sell the products developed down the road in department stores and other shops. Stay tuned for the results of the research.