Editor’s pickAged black garlic goes functional


Pharmactive’s aged black garlic extract pleases the palate, and can promote heart health.

Pharmactive Biotech Products has introduced its new generation of aged black garlic extract for functional food applications and the culinary market, launched under the brand ABG10+. The extract is obtained from fresh garlic that has been aged, a process which alters the physiochemical properties of garlic resulting in profoundly enhanced antioxidant and cardioprotective properties.

ABG10+ is derived from garlic and the first extract standardised to a higher concentration of the bioactive compound S-allyl cysteine (SAC) than in standard black garlic. SAC is a water-soluble bioactive compound known for its high antioxidant capacity and its cardiovascular benefits, as supported by multiple clinical trials. Pharmactive uses high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technology to ensure this high-SAC content.

Black garlic is a culinary delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries, particularly in India and other Asian countries such as Thailand, South Korea, and Japan. It is traditionally produced by aging whole bulbs of fresh garlic at high humidity and temperatures, a process that creates a deep black hue as well as a soft, jelly-like texture and sweet syrupy flavour. The aging process also decreases the pH from approximately 6.0 in raw garlic to less than 3.8 in aged black garlic, naturally bestowing a longer shelf life. In the West, aged black garlic has been rapidly trending as a functional food used by chefs to flavour a range of savoury dishes.

Pharmactive’s formulation ABG10+ is produced via a optimised aging process through a naturally occurring chemical reaction called “autocatalysis” under rigorous temperature and humidity controls. This technique naturally enriches the garlic with its composition of SAC, polyphenols, and melanoidins, macromolecules responsible for the dark colour. All three compounds exert potent antioxidant effects.

Alberto Espinel, head of R&D for Pharmactive, explained: “The aging process reduces the allicin content and removes the pungent flavour associated with fresh garlic which tends to repel many consumers. The allicin is converted into a potent antioxidant complex and other bioactives characteristic of black garlic, plus boosts overall nutrient composition while increasing and releasing complex flavour notes.”

The aged black garlic extract ingredient has been adapted into finished products and functional foods. It can be integrated into dry preparations, such as snack bars, endowing a natural sweetness or incorporated into condiments including purees, pastes, and extracts. It also pairs well with robust sweeteners, such as molasses, for use in sauces, relishes, and chutneys.

Aged black garlic extract is also applicable in dietary supplements. The ingredient contains no additives or preservatives and does not undergo any form of burning, caramelisation, or high-heat treatment. ABG10+ is kosher and halal certified, and is available in organic form as well.

Julia Diaz, head of marketing for Pharmactive, concluded: “ABG10+ has the potential to meet growing consumer demand for healthful flavours in terms of its organoleptic versatility. It offers food companies an opportunity to include in their products functional flavour and added value.”