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Biologic Lycopene from Tomatoes

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BioLyco (Biologic Lycopene from Tomatoes)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2019-02-01 al 2019-07-31

What is the problem/issue being addressed?
Lycopene (red color of tomato) is an antioxidant compound very important for human health. Antioxidant substances fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which is the basis of many chronic diseases. Despite Lycopene’s benefits, three problems exist:
- Lycopene cannot be produced by the human body and can only be taken through diet. Tomatoes and processed tomato products constitute the major source of dietary Lycopene accounting for up to 85% of the daily intake. Therefore Lycopene is becoming a strategic raw material for the global food industry, with over 1,000 applications in food preparations on the market.
- Currently either “synthetic” or “natural” Lycopene are used in industry: Synthetic Lycopene is produced by chemical reactions of synthetic primary products. Natural Lycopene is obtained by extraction from tomatoes (free of restrictions) or from waste of tomato processing industries. Natural lycopene can also be produced through biomass (e.g. Blakeslea Trispora) and then extracted using synthetic chemical solvents, as tomato extraction process. Both synthetic and natural Lycopene production involves toxic and harmful chemical solvents and both products may contain toxic impurities, pesticides and synthetic solvents, reducing their quality. Further, natural lycopene from tomatoes could also contains the pesticide “glyphosate”(See attached 1: “Pesticides and Human Health”).
- Lycopene obtained by chemical solvents, either synthetic or natural, has a crystalline form with large crystals size, reducing its bioavailability. Bioavailability is the most important quality feature of any dietary supplement as it determines its effectiveness.
The challenge is to bring on the market Organic Lycopene, produced without chemical solvents/pesticides from fresh organic-certified tomatoes. This is made possible by Licofarma unique process technology using carbon dioxide.
Why is it important for society?
Several researches confirm that high Lycopene levels in the blood concur with reduced incidence of Cancer to Prostate as well as other chronic diseases, as Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), Hypertension, Osteoporosis and Male Infertility. Recent studies point out Lycopene’s positive effects on Neurovegetative Diseases and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common form of blindness for elderly people in western world.
What are the overall objectives?
The Phase 1 project goal is to produce a detailed business plan achievable within the duration of the project (6 months).
Solution: Licofarma patented Organic Lycopene production process (Fig.1) requires: organic tomatoes (source of Lycopene) and carbon dioxide (CO2) as solvent for the extraction process. The process is subdivided into two distinct phases:
- Tomato powder preparation;
- Extraction of Lycopene from tomato powder by supercritical carbon dioxide.
The entire process has been developed further than proof-of-concept stage, by building a complete prototype plant able to produce small quantities of fine-quality Organic Lycopene. In this prototype plant, the company has experimented the Lycopene extraction process by CO2 and achieved the following outcomes:
- Yield of Lycopene recovered:> 70%, as Lycopene recovered % on Lycopene content of extraction matrix (tomato powder).
- Kinetic of extraction process: < 80, as kg of CO2/ kg of extraction matrix (tomato powder) used in order to achieve the yield of Lycopene recovery > 70%.
Such yields and kinetics of Lycopene extraction are critical parameters in terms of production efficiency and costs, underpinning the business and financial plans. If these values are confirmed on an industrial plant with 2 extractors of 200 litres each, Licofarma will be able to acquire a consistent slice of the global Lycopene market.
"Licofarma unique process technology has the following advantages:
1. Absence of Toxic Agents. Organic lycopene eliminates the risk of exposure to toxic compounds. The tomatoes used for Lycopene extraction are of biological quality (no GMO varieties) and do not contain pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.), chemical solvents or other toxic agents. The extraction process uses CO2, which is neither toxic nor harmful, it is not flammable and ultimately returns to its gas state at ambient conditions.
2. High ""natural"" bioavailability for dietary supplements application. It is well known that the crystalline form of Lycopene is one of the main factors limiting its bioavailability. According to published research data, reducing the size of the lycopene crystals by 10 times, from 5000 to 500 nm, increases the absorption of lycopene up to 23%. Licofarma production process using supercritical CO2 allows obtaining a finished product with very small crystal size (<100 nm). This removes the main obstacle to the absorption of lycopene, increasing efficacy on the consumer’s health and reducing production costs, as high-bioavailability lycopene can be used in smaller quantities.
3. High antioxidant and cancer-prevention action. Organic Lycopene, produced by carbon dioxide technology, features an antioxidant and anticancer activity up to 100 times higher than that of synthetic or natural lycopene (CNR, Italy’s National Research Council - unpublished data). The absence of chemical solvents makes it possible to use the obtained extract (organic lycopene oleoresin) as is, without additional reworking, avoiding the loss of part of its antioxidant constituents (e.g. lycopene, other carotenoids, vitamin E, others).
4. High quality of colour formulations. Colour formulations for colouring beverages and liquid food products are based on emulsions and micro-emulsions of Lycopene, which are then applied to water-soluble applications. Licofarma can replace the current red pigment E 160d (natural Lycopene) with a new organic dye in all food applications. The small crystal size of the new Organic Lycopene improves the colouring effect and stabilizes the food colour.
5. 100% Natural and Organic Certified. Licofarma’s is the only one type of Lycopene 100% natural and certified Organic by Certificate ICEA IT BIO 006 PL0328 n. 00451, May 2014, of product compliance with EU directives 834/07 and CE 889/08. The euro-leaf logo guarantees to the end consumer the control of every phase of the production chain in accordance with EU environmental and health regulations.
6. Environment friendly and safe production process. The innovative Lycopene production technology has no environmental impact compared to current processes. Extraction of organic lycopene by supercritical CO2 does not involve any"
Organic lycopene production process