Nine tropical fruits have been selected for attending both requirements of having a high nutritional and functional potential and being of high regional economic importance for rural population living in marginal areas of Latin America. They are the nativ e blackberries, naranjilla and tree-tomato in the high hillsides regions (from the Andes to Mexico), the red-pitahaya, berrycactus and cashew in the dry region (Central America, north Mexico and Brazil) and finally palm fruits (acai and peach palm) and Cam u-camu in the tropical humid regions (Amazonian basin and coastal humid region). Besides, relevant nutritional characteristics, these fruits are under-utilized and are marketed often only at regional level. Besides higher growth potential, a major commerc ialization scale is limited mainly because their real nutritional potential is often scientifically unknown, the production chain is informal and not organized, arising quality and safety problems and more over appropriate processing technologies has not b een investigated limiting the development of local agro-industries and access to international market. Therefore, the project aims at completely characterize the fruits using the very last analytical methods with emphasis on the characterisation of nutriti onal compounds and their functional potential specifically the antioxidant capacity and its bio-accessibility. Parallel, a study on the agri-food chainwill be carried out to improve quality, safety and innovation management in order to take the best advan tage of fruit potential. Innovative and appropriate technologies for processing, stabilising and adding value to the fruits will be developed taking into account the preservation of the fragile nutritional potential and the trade interest of niche markets for biodiversity rich products. This specific market will be studied aiming to define a specific strategy for bio-diverse products to access a globalised market, specifically the European one.
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