Paz Otero (project manager of UP4HEALTH at UVigo), Miguel Ángel Prieto (Ramón y Cajal researcher), and Franklin Chamorro (Ph.D. student at the Agro-Environmental and Food Research Group at the University of Vigo) have been working on an ambitious project since 2021 focused on valorizing waste generated by the grape industry (Vitis vinifera L.). These waste materials are recognized as a valuable source of bioactive compounds with interesting properties such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects. Otero, Prieto, and Chamorro are collaborating with the biotechnology company Isanatur, based in Navarra, which provides them with natural and healthy food ingredients in the wine production process, harnessing the full potential of the Mediterranean diet and raw materials.
This work is carried out within the framework of a European project called UP4Health (https://up4health.eu/), which aims to develop a sustainable and profitable production process for recycling byproducts of olives, grapes, and almonds into four natural and healthy ingredients for nutraceutical and cosmetic applications. As part of the project, the researchers have designed a raw material supply strategy based on an optimization process using supercritical fluid extraction (CO2) from grape seeds. This process yielded three products: grape seed fibers obtained after grinding and dehydration (1), grape extract (2), and low-lipid fiber (3), both obtained through CO2 extraction.
Once they obtained these three products, their main objective was to evaluate them from a nutritional perspective, always considering that “our ultimate goal is to create natural ingredients for incorporation into food and cosmetic matrices, meeting the requirements of each company.” For this purpose, they analyzed the phenolic profile, minerals, and fatty acids as the main components for each sample.
In the analysis of phenolics by LC-MS/MS, they found antioxidant compounds such as quercetin, rutin, catechin, and resveratrol. They also conducted mineral analysis by ICP-OES for various micro and macrominerals. Good values of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron were obtained in grape byproduct fibers. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that grape seed fibers are a good source of minerals.
The researchers conducted an analysis of fatty acids using gas chromatography, focusing on a wide range of short and long-chain fatty acids. They obtained favorable results in the profile of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). As a result, they have concluded that byproducts derived from the transformation industry of Vitis vinifera L. contain various bioactive molecules such as polyphenols, minerals, and fatty acids that can be recovered and reused in line with circular economy policies.
The project now enters its second phase, which involves developing a fortification plan based on the requirements of functional ingredients by end users and the matrix. In this regard, the researchers are addressing ingredient encapsulation to meet the following end-user requirements:
- Maintaining the organoleptic characteristics of the enriched product, avoiding undesirable odors, color, and flavors.
- Preserving phenolic compounds and fatty acids after thermal processing (at 90°C) to extend shelf life.
- Working with both water-soluble and lipid-soluble matrices and improving dispersion
Source: Cepas y Vinos. nº40