A Study of Trans-Himalayan Fermented Flour ‘Tattakhar’: A Disappearing Immunity-boosting Superfood
Keywords:tattakhar, therapeutic agent, probiotics, fermentation, immunity enhancer
AbstractAesculus indica tree (Hippocastanaceae), known as Himalayan chestnut – and locally as ‘Khanor’ – grows abundantly in the Trans-Himalayan region of India. The fruits of this tree contain high medicinal compounds like aescin and flavonoids, which possess many health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. This study investigated the nutritional value of fermented flour made from the seeds of Aesculus indica tree – tattakhar. Results showed that not only is it rich in nutrients, especially minerals, but it also has a high therapeutic potential. This is due to the presence of fermenting activities and probiotic bacteria – which have been globally proven as immunity enhancers – thereby giving tattakhar status as a functional food. The objective of the present study was to highlight the health potential and nutritional quality of tattakhar with the aim of repopularizing it among consumers and giving it superfood status. The flour was prepared using the seeds of Aesculus indica. A nutritional analysis, evaluating total carbohydrates, total proteins, reducing sugars, moisture content, crude fibres, total soluble sugars and pH was performed. Lactic acid bacteria were isolated from the fermented flour and safety was evaluated by observing their DNase production, gelatinase production and haemolytic activity. The potential of strain Bacillus sp. TK3 was assessed for antimicrobial activity, antioxidant analysis and bacteriocin production. The bacteriocin produced by isolated lactic acid bacteria proved to be a good source to inhibit food borne pathogenicity. A scaling up and adaption of fermentation methodology, coupled with commercial promotion, would afford tattakhar the potential to become one of the most sought-after health promoting and immunity-boosting foods commercially available.