The aim of this project is to obtain valuable products from oilseeds and vegetables by applying an environmental sustainable technology, based on efficient extraction processes either aided or not by enzymes. The main objectives are :
* Improvement of the oil extraction yield attained in the conventional pressing process by means of an enzymatic treatment.
* Development of extraction processes using non toxic, renewable solvents (ethanol, water) emphasizing in the use of efficient non polluting technologies and economically feasible, improving the yields by means of an enzymatic treatment and enzyme reuse.
* Modeling enzyme action of cellulases and kinetic evaluation based in models of enzyme behaviour on synthetic substrates and characterization of the tissue modification in the treated seeds.
* Integral use of the raw materials by using the defatted meals as a source of protein and dietary fiber.
Results derived from the improvement of conventionally-based technology will provide higher oil extraction yields and/or higher productivity of the equipment, without altering the properties of the oil and even improving those of the meal (the enhanced oil extractability requiring lower temperatures in the press) for use in food or feed. Development of alternative processing either improved or not by biotechnological means (application of enzymes) and the use of alternative extraction processes using renewable solvents will be useful for processing other oilseeds. The obtention of high-added value products from seeds is expected to improve the economy of the agricultural areas in DC, since the proposed processing methodologies can be implemented either in the existing equipment for extracting other oilseeds or in relatively economical equipments, batch, versatile, and useful for processing other seasonal crops or these seeds indigenous of the Latinoamerican area.
* Characterization of the vegetable substrates and selection of the best enzymes for enhancing the oil extractability.
* Basic research on enzyme technology including composition of the enzymatic complexes and optimization of the combination fragmentation/ hydrolysis in order to maximize oil extractability and minimize liberation of small molecules. Studies of adsorption-desorption and enzyme inhibition by polyphenolics present in the seeds are needed for practical purposes of reutilization of the enzymes.
* Optimization of the operational conditions for the enzymatic treatment at intermediate moisture before the pressing stage to improve the oil yields and to enhance the meal quality.
* Development of the alcoholic extraction process. This study will be focused on the solubility of the oil soluble fraction from the seeds in ethanol, the effect of liquid:solid ratio, particle size and flow pattern, miscella retention and kinetics of the batch extraction processes. At the end industrial operation will be simulated.
* Study and development of an enzyme aided extraction process based in an aqueous one or two phase system. Optimization of the operational conditions affecting both the enzyme efficiency and extraction is required : sample size and eventual pretreatment, enzyme reaction conditions, reaction system, solid:liquid ratio, type of reactor and extraction and separation of phases.
* The extraction of the protein and/or fiber contained in the extracted meal for feed or food products will be studied using the meal from the different oil extraction processes developed in this project by the utilization of these purified protein and fiber as ingredients in human foods.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts