99% of the vanilla consumed worldwide is artificial

Only 1% of the global population knows the aroma of natural vanilla obtained from the vanilla orchids
Photo: Notimex
05/07/2017
20:42
Notimex
Mexico
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Vanilla's main characteristic is its aroma, however, only 1% of the world population knows it, including Mexico, since most products are made with synthetic vanilla.

This was pointed out by the researcher of the Technological Institute of Tuxtepec (ITTuxtepec) in Oaxaca, Araceli Pérez Silva, who revealed that, although natural vanilla is obtained from the orchid pod, the synthetic one, of which 99% of all products are made, is obtained with unconventional formulas.

"It is made from wood, lignin and guaiacol residues… the Japanese even found a technique to produce it from the feces of cows," she said.

In an interview with Notimex, she stressed that in addition to its aromatic attributes, natural vanilla must be valued for its functional properties as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anticancer ingredient.

"We are accustomed to synthetic vanilla, but the aroma of the natural is complex, sophisticated, it is an aroma that in addition to giving us emotional pleasure, it is good for us, for it has healthy properties."

Pérez emphasized that the high costs of natural vanilla and the large-scale production of synthetic vanilla are linked to the loss of forests and tropical areas that produce the orchid, which is found mainly in states of Mexico as Veracruz, Puebla, and Oaxaca.

"Vanilla is a product that was domesticated in Mexico, we were the first producers in the world. Mexico was the country that introduced it to the world and for 300 years we were the only producers of vanilla."

"But now the genetic diversity of flora and fauna of forests and jungles has not been taken care of. There are deforestation and monocultures that have led to the loss of some species of vanilla," she lamented.

The researcher indicated that the scientific community in Mexico has turned to vanilla to empower producers so that they make it a sustainable product in social, economic and environmental spheres.

"It would be catastrophic to lose the forests, we would no longer have natural vanilla, everything would be synthetic, we would lose the opportunity to strengthen the crop, in addition to altering the sustainability and environmental balance."

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