Scholarly Work - Human Development & Community Health

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    Quelites—Agrobiodiversity beyond our crops
    (University of California Press, 2024-04) Ebel, Roland; Menalled, Fabián D.; Morales Payán, J. Pablo; Baldinelli, Giulia Maria; Berríos Ortiz, Laura; Castillo Cocom, Juan Ariel
    The monoculture of a handful of energy-dense crops that dominates contemporary agriculture has resulted in an erosion of agrobiodiversity, environmental issues, agroecosystem dependency on off-farm inputs, and diets with poor diversity in nutrients and flavors. However, diversified agriculture persists in communities characterized by subsistence farming, many of them Indigenous. Although movements across Latin America aim to rescue agrobiodiversity, they are widely limited to cropping system diversification, including practices such as crop rotations, intercropping, and cover crops. The agrobiodiversity of plants associated with crops, often labeled as weeds, is commonly not considered in this context. Yet edible weeds are the essential components of traditional food systems where they increase the functional diversity of agroecosystems and contribute to human nutrition. In Mexico, the term “quelite” describes noncultivated but edible plants growing on a crop field. Across the American continent, there are nutritious quelites that are commonly perceived as “weeds.” In this article, we discuss the concept of quelites, their origin in traditional Mexican agriculture, their significance for agroecosystem diversification, and their potential for the future. We demonstrate, with 12 examples, that quelites have always been part of agroecosystems across the Americas. We aim to spread the concept of quelites beyond traditional farming in Mexico to promote the use of these promising plants. We conclude the article with suggestions for strategies to achieve this goal.
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    Identifying sensory drivers of liking for plant-based milk coffees: Implications for product development and application
    (Wiley, 2022-11) Chung, Yi-Lin; Kuo, Wan-Yuan; Liou, Bo-Kang; Chen, Po-Chuan; Tseng, Yu-Chuan; Huang, Rui-Yu; Tsai, Mei-Chu
    The global plant-based product market is growing rapidly, and plant-based milks show promising potential in the coffee beverage sector. This study aimed to identify sensory drivers of liking of plant-based milk coffees for guiding the development of plant-based products with competitive advantages over dairy milk coffees. Twelve coffee samples were prepared with plant-based (oat, soy, almond, and coconut) and dairy (cow) milk. Quantitative descriptive analysis was used to generate sensory attribute terms for the 12 samples. Check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions were given to consumers to evaluate the sensory profiles and consumer acceptance of the 12 samples. Correspondence analysis and cluster analysis of the CATA results from 80 consumers showed that the oat and soy milk coffee samples were closer to what the consumers perceived as “typical” milk products, while the coconut and almond milk coffee samples were closer to the “flavored” milk products. Partial least squares regression results revealed that the attributes smooth, milky, and thick were important drivers of liking for the milk coffee samples. On the contrary, rancid oil, greasy, astringent, and rice bran were the major sensory attributes lowering the panelists’ acceptance of the milk coffee samples. The majority of consumers (53.5%) were “dairy milk lovers,” who specifically liked the dairy milk coffee sample and had low acceptance for the plant-based milk coffee samples. There was also a group of consumers (46.2%) classified as “plant-based milk coffee lovers.” They enjoyed coffees prepared with a wide range of milks (both dairy and nondairy milks) and represent high-potential consumers for plant-based milk coffee products.
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