Prosopis spp are leguminous plants grown wild in arid zones of America, Africa and Asia.
The trees produce mesquite pods that are palatable to humans. Prosopis pallida and Prosopis juliflora are found in large desertic areas of Peru and Mexico.
On the other hand, Ceratonia siliqua is a perennial leguminous cultivated in the Mediterranean area producing carob pods.
Both mesquite and carob pods have some compositional and morphological similarities.
Nevertheless, while CP is a valuable product of exportation and their uses in the food industry are well established, the use of MP is currently almost completely inexistent.
The development of food products from MP is essential for the extension of the culture, which is recommended to prevent desertization.
Taken into account the industrial and scientifical experience on CP in Europe, the following interdisciplinar studies are planed:
- Obtention of syrup and dietary fibres rich in polyphenols from the MP pulp.
- Obtention of gum (galactomannan) from MP seeds.
- Physicochemical and rheological characterization and study of the physiological properties (in vitro and clinical studies) of the products. - Plantation of Prosopis trees in the Southeast of Spain.
The participants provide a wide range of facilities for the development of the project (experimental field of Prosopis and Ceratonia trees, in Peru and Spain, pilot plants and industrial plant, scientific equipment and methodology, experience in E.C.projects of this area).
The results may contribute to improve the socioeconomic status of farmers in desertic zones of Latin America and to protect the environment of these areas by preventing them from desertification.
Additionaly, the possible plantation of Prosopis trees in dry lands of the Southeast of Spain will be tested with similar objectives.
CP: carob pods; MP: Mesquite pods
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
46184 San Antonio De Benageber
EH3 9YW Edinburgh