The Food Technology research team, led by Prof. Matteo Scampicchio, has recently discovered how to recycle apple processing waste for the Food Industry. Thanks to the use of supercritical carbon dioxide, they have obtained natural antioxidants from apple processing waste.
This is good news for food companies because they will soon be able to use natural and cheap substances instead of synthetic ones. And all this is due to the recovery of material considered to be waste, such as skins, cores, seeds and apple pulp.
The research team at the unibz Food Science and Technology laboratories in the Bozen-Bolzano NOI Technology Park, led by Prof. Matteo Scampicchio and researcher Giovanna Ferrentino, recently published the paper Biorecovery of antioxidants from apple pomace by supercritical fluid extraction in one of the most renowned interdisciplinary journals worldwide, the US-based Journal of Cleaner Production, specialized in sustainable production technologies.
The study has a double value. On the one hand, it offers the food industry new natural substances, which are expected to be cheaper than artificial ones. On the other, it tackles the problem of food waste, valuing the waste that would otherwise be destined for disposal, with ensuing costs.
The starting point for the research paper is the humble apple, the fruit on which much of South Tyrol’s agricultural and food economy depends. Researchers have harnessed the potential of supercritical carbon dioxide extraction to obtain phenolic and antioxidant compounds from apple processing waste. “These have a higher antioxidant potential than those obtained thanks to traditional technologies such as maceration or solvent extraction”, says researcher Giovanna Ferrentino.
“The process through which we extracted the phenolic antioxidant compounds exploits supercritical carbon dioxide as a solvent. This is colourless, odourless, non-toxic, non-flammable and totally health-safe”, explains Prof. Matteo Scampicchio.
The research was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Fructus Company based in the city of Meran-Merano, which supplied the raw material for the extraction experiments.