Maria Servina is a biotech student in her third year at Smt. Parvatibai Chowgule College, Margao, Goa and she already has a start-up and a product that’s set to make a change in a huge way! What’s it about, you ask? Well, bright young Ms. Servina has come up with an innovative way to include the Soursop fruit or the Graviola (a fruit known for its anti-cancerous properties, but shunned for its bitter taste) in the diet of a cancer patient. Since, this fruit is often seen as an alternative, natural treatment for cancer, it is often eaten raw, in salads and juices, but Ms. Servina, with the help of her classmates and lecturers, has now come up with a soursop ice-cream! She presented it at a recent start-up seminar in the college and here is an interview with this innovative student about her invention:
- So, Maria, before we begin, could you tell us more about the main ingredient behind this ice cream- the soursop? Just, so the readers know more about it and its benefits?
Maria: Of, course. Soursop is also known locally as Kattem phanas or as Graviola and it is known as an antioxidizing fruit as it detoxifies the body, helps in rejuvenating cells or healing them, especially in prevention and healing of cancerous cells and scientific studies have shown it to have anti-tumour properties and hence, it’s widely used as a natural, alternative treatment.
- That sounds fascinating. So, tell me more about how you went about creating this ice cream. What are its ingredients, if you don’t mind me asking?
Maria: A lot of effort went into making the ice cream. In fact, it only started out as a final year project for me, before we decided to turn it into a full-fledged start-up company so it would reach a wider audience and help cancer patients in Goa and elsewhere. We ended up making the ice cream from 2 different types of milk- soy and skimmed- so it could benefit vegans as well. The skimmed milk version is also very high in protein, low carb and has 0 calories.
- That sounds well and good. But, how did you combat the bitterness of the Soursop?
Maria: We substituted sugar with natural preservatives like nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as sweetened it with raisins and dry fruits. We went the natural way, as it’s sometimes best to not have too much artificial content in one’s diet and this was also cost-effective. Sugar is also known to put cancer patients at risk…or at least that’s what some experts say. Moving on, the cinnamon is also effective in increasing the shelf life of this ice cream and also inhibits microbial growth.
- Have you started selling the ice a yet? If so, how has the response been?
Maria: The lecturers, my classmates and I have only just begun with the start-up and are currently selling the product from the college itself. We’ve been allotted a stall here in the college from where one can purchase the ice cream. Recently, we were at an agriculture programme in Karnataka where the product and our initiative were highly praised. We’ve set the price at 1/10th of the market price of most other frozen products. We hope that it receives more recognition, as it is high time, we did everything in our power to tackle the Big C.
- Yes, hopefully, your start-up catches the attention of pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, etc, and they invest in this product. More power to you!
Maria: Thanks. Yes, I hope so too. That would be a big step in the right direction in the path to cure cancer.
- Thank you so much for doing this interview, Maria and for sharing your product and your ‘little start-up with a big heart’ with everyone.
Maria: It’s been my pleasure. Thanks to you as well.