A new way to produce the famous wine and cheese combo is through a weed species called Bidens pilosa. This plant, also called black-jack, looks like a plucked daisy, and it is native to South and North America but has been distributed to other parts of the world.
A group of scientists from South Ural State University in Russia made the discovery and explained the process in a study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research.
The study explains that Bidens pilosa is used in local traditional medicine, and the enzyme called proteases, which is extracted from the plant's fresh leaves, has many positive health functions. These functions include wound healing, blood coagulation prevention, digestion aid, and antibody therapy, the study points out.
The same enzyme can be found in many other organisms already, such as animals, microorganisms, and plants other than Bidens pilosa. Its use isn’t only medicinal; the applications also include detergents, leather manufacturing, and bioremediation.
One extract to serve them all
Now that the scientists have observed the positive effects of proteases obtained from Bidens pilosa in the study, they want to make the most of the enzyme. Their findings imply that this flower may turn out to be an alternative to expensive sources of enzymes used in the production of wine and cheese, among other things.
"Due to its prevalence, its use, in our opinion, is extremely beneficial in winemaking and milk processing, where the Bidens pilosa extract can become an alternative to many food animal enzymes," explains Irina Potoroko, head of the Department of Food Technology and Biotechnology, reported by the South Ural State University.
It demands more research
The scientists plan to do more research on the plant to determine the extent of its everyday usage in already-existing procedures.
One concern the scientists have is that only the fresh leaves of the plant were observed in the study. They want to study the roots, stem, and flowers of the plant to get a better grip on the protease activity soon.
The flower blossoms throughout the year, especially in the summer and autumn, in many parts of the world including in Eurasia where the scientists are from.