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    ITB Lecturer Develop Natural Sweetener from Stevia Leaf

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    BANDUNG-The leaves and herbs of Stevia plants contain compounds that have a sweet taste (glycoside steviol, GS) with a high enough level. The sweetness of GS compounds reaches 300 times that of sugar, so that GS obtained through the extraction of leaves and herbs of Stevia plants is widely used as a natural sweetener of sugar substitutes, especially for those who require low caloric intake.

    GS as a natural sweetener has long been used and declared safe by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) as an international organization under FAO and WHO that issued various standards in the field of food. But in Indonesia, the natural sweetener is still fully imported. Though the plant named latin stevia rebaudiana bertoni can live and suitable to be planted in the highlands in Indonesia, as in the area Ciwidey, Bandung regency. Until now, there is no single industry in Indonesia that extractions Stevia leaves and produces GS as a natural sweetener on a commercial scale.

    These conditions encouraged the research team of lecturer staff School of Pharmacy Institute of Technology Bandung (SF-ITB) to conduct research on the topic "Development of Natural Sturgol Glycoside Stevole Production Process (Stevia) from Stevia Plant Leaf." The research team consists of Dr.rer.nat. Rahmana Emran Kartasasmita, M.Si ,. Apt., Dr. Elfahmi, M.Si., Apt., Dr. Muhammad Insanu, M.Si., Apt., And Dr. As'ari Nawawi, M.Si., Apt.

    As a high intensity sweetener (high intense sweetener), GS has a high level of sweetness, so that the low levels are able to provide an adequate sweetness. As an illustration, to sweeten a cup of beverage, just use 30-40 mg GS which is usually used in sachet form. Another advantage, GS has no caloric value so it will not cause a rise in blood sugar after consumption. Therefore, this natural sweetener is suitable for use by diabetics and those who require low caloric intake as it is on a low-calorie diet.

    One of the researchers, Rahmana Emran Kartasasmita explains, that the research done by his team has started since 2012. But in the year is still carried out on a laboratory scale. In 2015 the team gets research funding from Ministry of Health through Facilitation program Development of Drug Raw Materials (BBO) and Traditional Medicines Raw Materials (BBOT).

    "Thanks to the funding, research can be done on a larger scale by cooperating with PT. Kimia Farma as a partner industry," he explained ITB press release on Wednesday (11/7).

    Described Emran, see the many benefits of sweeteners stevia, both in terms of economics and health, he hope GS can be produced from stevia grown in
    Indonesia. In terms of regulations in Indonesia, GS already allowed to be used on various food products based on Perka BPOM since 2014.

    "We as a team of researchers want a natural sweetener GS can be produced in Indonesia so it is not necessary import, considering the plant stevia as raw material suitable planted in Indonesia, especially in the area Ciwidey," said Emran.

    Furthermore, Emran explained, every hectare of land can be planted around 50 thousand seeds with capacity production 12 ton of wet leaf per year with 12 times
    harvest or equivalent to 1.2 tons of dry leaves.

    Based on the analysis results, known total content GS from within the minimum dry stevia leaves about 10%, so that 1.2 tons of dry leaves will produce 120 kg
    sweetener stevia in 1 year. Currently, estimates the annual requirement of stevia in Indonesia is about 350 tons stevia per year. If 10% of these needs, or 35 tons per year will be produced in Indonesia, then required plant area of stevia area (35.000,00 kg / year / 120 kg / year / hectare) or 292 hectares.

    While currently only a few hectares of land alone which planted stevia in the Ciwidey area. However, the local government will provide support to make stevia as the region's flagship and will facilitate the provision of land, if stevia will are grown on a large scale to support industries that produce GS as a natural sweetener.

    "As far as I know, in the Ciwidey area, if want to plant stevia on many commercial scale land that can be rented. It's over there already there is a plant Stevia but because it does not exist industries that require deep stevia plants large quantities, farmers have not been interested to plant on large land. The resulting stevia leaves from existing land, newly dried and sold as dried stevia leaves by farmers "said Emran. Jo

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