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New Oleocanthal-based functional ingredients with anti-inflamatory properties obtained from olive pomace valorisation

Project description

Turning olive oil waste into anti-inflammatory functional ingredients

Managing chronic inflammatory diseases usually entails the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, these often have unwanted side effects, necessitating the discovery of alternative treatments. Based on the proven health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, scientists of the EU-funded NEOCANTAL project have investigated the potential of extra virgin olive oil, particularly the natural anti-inflammatory properties of the phenol compound oleocanthal. The project has developed a process for obtaining oleocanthal from olive pomace, a by-product of the olive oil industry, and generating powder, liquid and encapsulated forms for addition to food products. Project outputs include a commercialisation feasibility study and the design of a clinical trial.


Chronic inflammatory diseases (CID) have dramatically risen in the last decades. Current sole treatment for patients is the long-term intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with associated harmful side effects, such as ibuprofen, to mitigate their pain.
Research has demonstrated that there exist a strong relationship between nutrition and chronic diseases. This way, the extra virgin olive oil’s (EVOO) health effects have been assessed through diverse studies focusing on the Mediterranean diet. Researchers have recognised natural anti-inflammatory properties to oleocanthal, one of the phenols compounds present in the EVOO. Concentration of oleocanthal is 100 times higher in the olive pomace (OP), a highly pollutant by-product from the olive oil industry.
Santa Cruz Ingeniería is an agro-industrial engineering firm specialised in agronomic management and R&D. During last years, we have focused on the identification of oleocanthal-rich olive varieties and on the process to obtain stable oleocanthal extracts (Spanish patent application under study). NEOCANTAL is a great Circular Economy opportunity (cumulative turnover of €17.15M three years after its launching) to turn the environmentally harmful and low-cost OP into a valuable raw material for new oleocanthal-rich (60-70% pure) functional ingredients with anti-inflammatory pursposes. It will be produced in three different forms to be added to a wide range of food products: OP powder, liquid and encapsulated oleocanthal. Our target customers are food producers willing to differentiate their products as functional, while our end-users are CID’s patients, but also people who care of their wellbeing or follow healthy trends. In the future, we will address the cosmetics, food packaging and pharma industries.
This Feasibility Study’s goal is to deepen in those key points to assess the economic, technical and commercial viability of NEOCANTAL (including a clinical trial) to tackle this challenge for us to scale-up.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
Avda.eduardo dato num 45 esc 1 planta b
41018 Sevilla

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Sur Andalucía Sevilla
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 21 429,00