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BIOACTIVE-NET — Result In Brief

Project ID: 43035
Funded under: FP6-FOOD
Country: Germany

Turning waste into health and beauty products

A recent collaboration amongst a group of Mediterranean partners is helping the region use its natural resources more wisely while at the same time bolstering its reputation as an exporter of health and beauty.
Turning waste into health and beauty products
Southern Europe is a leading producer of fine wines, olive oil, tomato paste and other delicacies that make up the famously healthy Mediterranean diet. Behind the scenes, however, lies a considerable waste management issue arising from the residues left over once the raw materials (grapes, olives and tomatoes) have been processed.

Scientists have long recognised that these residues in fact contain substances of nutritional, medicinal and even cosmetic value. The challenge is to extract them without breaking the bank. Researchers from the region took a closer look at this issue during the ‘Assessment and dissemination of strategies for the extraction of BIOACTIVE-NET compounds from tomato, olive and grape processing residues’ (Bioactive-NET) project, which received funding from the EU.

Before moving forward, it was necessary to look backwards to gather information about past efforts to separate vitamins, antioxidants, essential oils and so on from the processing residues. Once the best available technologies (BATs) were identified, workshops were organised to transfer this knowledge and demonstrate technical and financial feasibility where possible. The invitees included not only the companies that produce the residues but also those that perform the extraction and purification as well as companies interested in converting them into final products.

This information has been shared with the industrial community through a dedicated project website available in several languages. A Bioactive-NET manual has also been produced and distributed to interested parties.

Efforts such as Bioactive-NET are helping farmers in Southern Europe turn their waste products into something valuable, and not only for their pocketbooks.

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