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Functional foods and beverages can be defined as processed products that provide health benefits beyond the basic nutritional needs and reduce the risk of diseases. The design of functional products with improved shelf-life is a new challenge for the food industry. Therefore, this research aimed to: design a functional fruit-herbal beverage; compare the preservation effect of two preservatives (propolis extract and potassium sorbate) added in the beverages; evaluate the sensory characteristics of the newly designed beverages; observe the physico-chemical and microbiological changes during storage at 4℃ for 42 days. The results demonstrated that the addition of propolis extract (0.02%) in the beverage, increased the total polyphenols, total flavonoids and antioxidant activity, compared to the control beverage and the beverage containing potassium sorbate (0.05%). The results from microbiological analyses showed that potassium sorbate and propolis extract effectively inhibited the microbial growth in the treated beverages. However, the propolis extract in a lower concentration (0.02%) was as effective as potassium sorbate in a higher concentration (0.05%) during the entire storage period. Consequently, in addition to being a functional ingredient and a food enhancer, propolis is a prospective natural preservative, which can improve the shelf-life of the food products and beverages.
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