Benzen (Ngobrol Bareng Dozen) , which is conducted by HIMAGHITA (Himpunan Mahasiswa Teknologi Hasil Pertanian)  twice a year, is a routine activity in Department of Food Science and Technology UNS. This event is  a good activity for student to extend their knowledge in the area of food technology. In the 2nd semester of 2011, the theme of Benzen is “WHAT’S WRONG WITH SMOKED FOOD???”. The committee thought that Mr. Dimas Rahadian is the appropriate one to be the speaker (are you sure…..????!!!!).  Well, check it out!

Indonesian cuisine is diverse, you can enjoy various food here, such as Sate, barbecued corn, barbecued jadah, barbecued young coconut, etc. Sate is one of the most favorite food in Indonesia. Did you know that Indonesia has more than 30 type of Sate? Every region in Indonesia has their own speciality. However, is Sate good for our health???

Smoking of foods was traditionally used as a means of preservation, due to it phenolic compound compound, acid, and carbonyl content. Smoking processes are also used to impart flavour, aroma and colour to food.   Phenolic compounds play role as flavor enhancer and antioxidant for food. Acid compounds  on smoke properties has antimicrobial activity. Carbonyl compounds support browning reaction for coloring foods.

Then, what is the problem??? The main reaction for producing smoke is pyrolysis. The reaction yields a complex mixture of chemicals. in variety classes. Some of them is carcinogenic compounds, which is well-known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds, such as benzo(a)pyrene. Due to this reason, traditional smoking has been changed to modern smoking that is using liquid smoke.

Liquid smoke is produced through the controlled burning of wood chips, coconut shell, or sawdust, condensed into liquids and then dissolved in water. This method is called pyrolisis. Distillation process in certain temperature is conducted for separating the undesirable compound such as PAH. The liquid smoke can be used for food preservative, because its high phenolic and acid content, as well as flavor agent.

There are many different techniques used in the addition of smoke flavourings to foods. They may be added to the mixture by injection, immersion, pulverization or by the smoking of stomachs and other such coverings; it is possible to use either liquid or solid smoke flavourings, depending on the product to be smoked and the results to be obtained.

The smoke condensates offer some advantages; they are applied easily and their concentrations can be controlled.They can be analysed and, if necessary,purified to remove undesirable compounds, such as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Moreover, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities may be better evaluated and handled.

This is the end of the lecture in Benzen 2011. What an amazing activity ! Students appreciated the lecture and discussed it seriously, although they could relax and eat snack during the activity. Good students !