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Development of novel functional proteins and bioactive ingredients from rapeseed, olive, tomato and citrus fruit side streams for applications in food, cosmetics, pet food and adhesives

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Pro-Enrich (Development of novel functional proteins and bioactive ingredients from rapeseed, olive, tomato and citrus fruit side streams for applications in food, cosmetics, pet food and adhesives)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

The projected global demand for proteins and bioactive compounds in 2030 exceeds current production capacities and developing alternative sources of these compounds, particularly for the food sector, is increasingly important.
Pro-Enrich is developing an integrated and sustainable biorefinery approach capable of processing a wide range of agricultural residues, with the aim of producing functional proteins and bioactive compounds for applications in food, pet food, adhesives and cosmetics. Pro-Enrich is developing and testing new optimised technologies for pre-treatment, extraction, separation and purification of compounds such as functional proteins, polyphenols, dietary fibers and pigments. The raw materials used in Pro-Enrich include side-streams of pre-processed rapeseed, olives, citrus and tomatoes.
The project is developing biomass fractionation and separation technologies through an iterative process of feedstock mapping, laboratory process development, pilot scale production, performance testing and demonstration of the business cases.
In order to meet consumer acceptance as well as regulatory and sustainability requirements, Pro-Enrich includes detailed life cycle, socio-economic and safety assessments that will help guide policy and decision-making at industrial and EU level.
Pro-Enrich is focussed on the following feedstocks:
Citrus/tomato – these large waste streams constitute a severe environmental burden. Inherent compounds hold potential as dietary supplements.
Olive pomace and olive wastewater – large volumes produced as a by-product of olive oil production, which has high levels of pollutants, and is difficult to dispose of. Contains high levels of phenolic compounds with potential as dietary supplements and adhesives.
Rapeseed press cake –contains a high level of protein that can replace conventionally used soy protein products in food/feed.
The supply chain and quality assessment of these raw materials was performed by collecting information on the specific needs of end-users, in relation to product purity and functionality requirements. This raw material assessment was the starting point for process development.
The most promising products have been identified from each raw material after the first lab and pilot trials. These are proteins from rapeseed cake and tomato residues and polyphenols from olive side-streams, tomato pulp and orange peel. It is proposed that a sequential process can be developed in order to capture other desired by-products.
Various types of rapeseed cake have been considered in the project (including whole rapeseeds) and have been individually analysed to investigate differences in the composition. The focus is valorisation of hot-pressed rapeseed cake and cold pressed rapeseed cake due to availability.
Three different olive by-products have been analysed: wet pomace (coming from 2-phase olive oil centrifugation system), dry pomace (coming from the 3-phase olive oil centrifugation system) and olive mill wastewater (OMWW). These residues haves been assessed for the recovery of polyphenols with OMWW as the most promising source.
For tomato side streams, seed and peel have been chosen for the extraction of valuable compounds. Stability of the antioxidant component in these fractions is the most challenging issue, which will be addressed in future work.
Citrus peel and pulp have been separated and analysed, with bioactive ingredients being identified as commercially important components.

Enzymatic processing of rapeseed, olive, tomato and citrus wastes was performed after initial trials to identify and assess potential enzymes to facilitate recovery of target end products. Initial protocols have been developed to recover useful compounds from rapeseed press cake, olive mill waste, and the residue streams from oranges and tomatoes.
Lab and pilot trials have been completed, integrating enzymatic and mechanical processing, recovery and purification of proteins from hot and cold pressed rapeseed cake, respectively. These process steps include unit operations such as wet milling, centrifugation and membrane filtration. The main challenges during fractionation of rapeseed cake have been coagulation, emulsification and precipitation after solubilisation. While further optimisation is needed, initial products have been delivered to industrial end users for testing.
A novel method for polyphenol extraction from olive waste has been developed using magnetic particles for polyphenol extraction. These materials function in fixed bed applications or as solid phase extractors and a method has been developed for recovering the extracted phenolic compounds. The methodology for total polyphenol content has been prepared and validated to assess efficacy of extraction.
Water-soluble and insoluble polyphenols have been targeted during extraction from citrus. Lab-scale and preliminary pilot extraction protocols have been defined.
Bioactive compounds from tomato have been targeted. Different extraction strategies have been tested at lab scale in order to increase recovery of certain compounds from whole tomato fruits and from peel.
Protein extracts derived from rapeseed cake have been tested by industrial partners, which showed that while the products could be used in wood adhesive formulations, they did not currently meet criteria for food and feed applications.
A preliminary market analysis of the biomasses in the project has been performed. Parameters such us the total available volume worldwide and within the project, current value chain and current uses have been analysed. The market potential of target products (proteins, carbohydrates etc.) has been assessed.
A first review of the European legislation relating to the food and feed sectors and the application of Pro-enrich derived products has been conducted. The legislation was related to feedstock selection, the proposed biorefinery approach and evaluation of materials in end-products.
Pro-Enrich represents a flexible biorefinery approach to process a wide range of agricultural residues within a single processing system. Pro-Enrich demonstrates innovatively coupled mechanical pre-processing and novel enzyme treatments, linked to downstream fractionation of selected feedstocks, using a cost-effective and resource-efficient approach. OMWW is valorised through a novel method using micro-magnetic particles for extraction of phenolics from olive mill wastewater. This approach cleans water sources and collects valuable compounds. The magnetic particles can be re-used indefinitely for processing. This process has the potential to greatly reduce the environmental impact of OMWW and increase economic potential of rural regions of Europe where these mills are located.
The Pro-Enrich project will demonstrate a new business model for producing high-value compounds from agricultural side streams, demonstrating technical and commercial feasibility with both small and large-scale bioprocessing units.