Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - OPTIMOILS (Valorisation of healthy lipidic micro-nutrients by optimising food processing of edible oils and fats)

The objective of the OPTIMOILS project was to develop new vegetable oils richer in natural micronutrients, namely namely phytosterols, tocopherols, phenols, phospholipids and co-enzyme Q10, which would have a positive effect on the prevention of the cardiovascular risk. The project concept was an optimisation of the traditional industrial pathway to get softer technological options, which would respect more the micronutrients' content and the quality and nutritional value of the oil, while reducing the environmental impact of the entire process.

OPTIMOILS adopted a methodological approach that coupled analytical, technological, environmental, nutritional and food aspects. It firstly aimed to develop or improve and validate analytical methodologies for examining the selected micronutrients in different products. Secondly, it tested crushing and soft-refining conditions so as to get optimised edible oils with higher levels of micro-nutrients and good sensorial quality and safety. It was also demonstrated, through animal and human nutritional studies, that the micronutrients present in natural and synergistic form in edible oils had, in nutritional amounts, a real physiological interest for the prevention of cardiovascular risk in complement of the beneficial role of poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Moreover, a food reverse engineering approach was proposed, taking into account the impact of the industrial and culinary uses of healthy optimised oils on their micronutrients content. The tested operations were emulsification for sauces, crystallisation for margarines, pan and deep frying and oxidation stability during storage.

The crushing and refining conditions were optimised for rapeseed, sunflower and soybean oils to get and keep significant higher levels of micronutrients compared with the levels in the classical totally refined oils. During these processes some steps of classical crushing and refining could be suppressed; consequently, the cost of production was reduced. In parallel, the quantity of by-products and co-products was also reduced. On the other hand, the sensorial quality of the sunflower and soybean optim'oils was good for industrials and acceptable for consumers, but the taste of the rapeseed optim'oil remained strong. The levels of micronutrients were significantly higher in the proposals with respect to commercial refined oils or even virgin or enriched oils. The proposed process reduced the by-products generation and the energy consumption. In parallel, an innovative approach for the valorisation of the deodistillate, obtained as the unique by-product during the deodorisation step was proposed.

Following a correct selection and storage of the raw material, optim'oils were in conformity with the European regulation and codex alimentarius for their quality parameters and safety specifications. They could be used in different food applications, such as cooking, pan frying, sauces and margarines. The most innovative oily micronutrients that were studied were the phenolic compounds and the co-Enzyme Q10 or ubiquinone. A study on animal model demonstrated a positive effect of different sunflower, soybean and rapeseed optim'oils richer in micronutrients, on different biomarkers of the oxidative stress. Finally, a long term clinical study showed that a rapeseed optim'oil enriched with antioxidants could protect human lipids from peroxidation and therefore seemed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Thus, innovative processes that were more respectful of the natural nutrients were proposed to the European market. Nevertheless, these first interesting results should be further validated in future projects.

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