It’s Cinco de Mayo! Bring out the Guacamole!

Today we celebrate “Cinco de Mayo” (“Fifth of May”).  On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army at Puebla defeated a French occupying force twice its size, slowing the enemy’s advance toward the capital.

The Battle of Puebla marked the last time any country in the Americas has been invaded by a European military force.  Mexico, the U.S. and Canada celebrate the occasion with music, dancing and food.  Agilent is there behind the scenes.

Celebrations may include bowlfuls of guacamole, a dip made from avocados.  Researchers in Florida used an Agilent HPLC system and Agilent ChemStation software to study the antioxidant capacities of avocados.  They determined that avocado seeds contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants, phenolic content and procyanidins, while the pulp (the part we eat) contains the lowest.  Furthermore, avocado peels contain an abundance of healthy carotenoids and chlorophylls.  The study concluded that avocado seeds and peels, which are normally discarded during processing, should instead be exploited as a source of antioxidants.

Cinco de Mayo celebrants may also enjoy tequila, an alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant.  Researchers in Mexico used an Agilent GC/MS and Agilent ChemStation software to compare various yeasts used in agave fermentation.  They determined that a yeast isolated from native residual agave (Kluyveromyces marxianus UMP3-1) is superior to baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pan1).  The former results in higher ethanol productivity, as well as increased volatile compounds that improve tequila quality.

In a separate study, Mexican researchers used an Agilent ICP-MS, Agilent HPLC and Agilent ChemStation software to analyze chemical compounds in 40 brands of commercial tequila and mixed tequila brands.  While most compounds showed low concentration levels in accordance with Mexican regulations, concentrations of copper were higher than maximum permissible values in 100-percent tequila.

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