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Development of integrated processes for extraction with supercritical fluids of mediterranean food ingredients

This project aims to develop complete processes suitable for obtaining useful products from raw materials typically found in italy, spain and portugal (i.E., Development of mediterranean products).

The Mediterranean area is a unique ecosystem due its climatology and geographic configuration and is home to considerable terrestrial and marine biodiversity. This huge variety of vegetal and animal species provides an inestimable source of potentially usable substances in sectors such as food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, etc. Added value may exist not only in major components but also in minor constituents of these complex raw materials. From a general point of view, a broad number of references can be found about extraction research from natural Mediterranean resources applying different recovery techniques and approaches. Nevertheless, these works normally focus on major components and are not carried out taking into account final industrial requirements. As a result, available results and data for a certain product may not be enough to scale-up the reported processes or even to use them for productive purposes. In fact, there is a lack of information about stages linking extractive steps to final application of extracts as ingredients in final food products. On the other hand, society is becoming more and more concerned about how natural resources are processed, what environmental impact these processes cause and how fewer by-products could be generated. Therefore, apart from final new products having to be feasible and desirable for certain applications, green, environmentally friendly processes also have to be employed to obtain these new products. For that reason, new developments are required in order to minimise the drawbacks of current industrial procedures or to provide new alternatives. This project will aim at developing whole processes suitable for obtaining useful products from raw materials typically found in ITALY, SPAIN and PORTUGAL (i.e., development of Mediterranean products). Since there is interest in common in countries and enterprises located in this area, the project has been conceived to strengthen collaboration among enterprises and allow synergies to appear. The project involves the search for native raw materials that contain valuable components to be applied as functional ingredients in food, employing eco-efficient and avant-garde technologies such as SC-CO2 in order to strengthen the bio-economy of participating countries. The objective comprises development of each step from identification of interesting final uses of these products through to manufacture of real demonstrative goods applying products obtained by means of developed processes. The project will make it possible to provide fully developed eco-efficient processes to enterprises taking part in the project, in order to promote new opportunities to produce greener, sustainable and affordable products. Research results may be applied to produce real products to be sold to customers. Thus, the project target products should match market demands in order to get results with successful exploitation. As a result, a group of target products has been defined by SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) to be studied and developed individually. These products are widely produced within the Mediterranean area. SCF technology offers three strategic approaches to give place to valuable extracts based on target products: extraction, fractionation and removal of undesired substances. First of all, each SME has selected specific products that would be interesting from a technological and commercial point of view. A group of diverse raw materials has been defined to be studied in the project. The materials show some similarities among them as well as some differences. Each product will be studied separately from an operative point of view but through coordination from a methodological point of view. First of all, potential final uses of each raw material will be identified. Appropriate characterisation methods will then be developed, with pre-treatment and extraction conditions studied. These studies will be assessed mainly by extract characterisation. Later on, stabilisation will be studied and stabilisation conditions for each raw material identified by means of characterisation assessment. As a result of all these activities, global obtaining process will be identified and demonstrative batches will be obtained applying said industrial processes. Finally, application of these demonstrative ingredients to final products will be tested. Keywords: extraction, supercritical fluids, food products.
Acronym: 
DIPEXMED
Project ID: 
3 903
Start date: 
01-01-2007
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 620 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Food Technology
Market Area: 
Other food and beverages

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.