Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


EXTRANAT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 512550
Funded under: FP6-SME
Country: Spain

‘Recycling’ antioxidants from fruit waste

EU-funded researchers developed ‘green’ technology to extract valuable antioxidants from waste fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants are used as additives by the food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries.
‘Recycling’ antioxidants from fruit waste
Environmental consciousness of consumers, if not of producers themselves, has encouraged virtually every industry in the world to search for ways to do ‘greener’ work and produce healthier products.

Much of the focus has been on recyclation of waste. For example, producers of processed fruits and vegetables have turned to compost and biomass for fuel as two ways to reutilise their organic waste.

One way to get a larger return on disposal of biowaste is to exploit its naturally high content of antioxidants, among the natural benefits of eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Biowaste from food processing could provide an attractive and more cost-effective antioxidant source for the food additives, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries than traditional sources. Simultaneously, economic benefits of waste disposal would be enhanced for processed vegetable and fruit producers.

In order to deliver high-quality antioxidants, scientists require extraction methods that produce high-yield, high-purity results without damaging the compounds of interest. Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) may be a healthy and highly efficient alternative to traditional solvent separation methods.

European researchers initiated the ‘Highly selective and environmentally friendly fruit extraction using supercritical fluids technology’ (Extranat) project to develop SFE techniques for extraction of antioxidants from fruit and vegetable waste.

The project was guided by industrial interests of partners in terms of fruit and vegetable products and of antioxidants of interest for pharmaceuticals and food additives. However, the technology was developed to be easily adapted to other vegetable varieties and to other applications.

For example, SFE techniques could be used in purification, crystallisation and fractionation related to precision cleaning of electronic equipment, dry cleaning and wood coatings and varnishes.

Extranat successfully delivered processing technology for high-yield, high-purity extraction of antioxidants from vegetables and fruits for high added value use of biowaste in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries.

Commercialisation of concepts has the potential to benefit a variety of industries and health-conscious consumers as well.

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