The entire plant world is extremely rich in an extraordinary quantity and variety of molecules characterized by important biological activities, these substances should be recovered and used in different applications. This viewpoint meets a double goal: to stimulate and promote the use of natural, bioactive compounds as well as valorize byproducts in a way that guarantees a more sustainable agrifood production.
One of the main food products of the Mediterranean diet is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), which is the major source of fat. It’s well know and recognized health-protective effects, especially related to cardiovascular health and immune system strengthening are ascribed not only to the high, polyunsaturated, fatty acid (PUFAs) content, but also to the minor, bioactive components, which give a significant, quantitative, and qualitative contribution to the daily intake of polyphenols in the traditional Mediterranean diet. Only a small amount of phenolic compounds are transferred into the oily phase, whereas the largest fraction is present in the relevant by-products of the mechanical olive oil extraction process.
The Olive Mill waste
The Olive mill wastewater (OMWW) is the main by-product of the mechanical olive oil extraction process and is very rich in phenolic compounds that are characterized by high hydrophilicity and have significant biological properties.
OMWW contains 3–16% of organic compounds and is characterized by high values of biological oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD), these characteristics make OMWW a by-product with a significant environmental impact and represents a disposal cost for the oil industry, which should at least be limited to guarantee an improvement in the sector. The introduction of technological innovations will make it possible to turn by-products into high added-value products, rather than dealing with disposal cost.
OMWW is rich in phenolic compounds, including the most abundant Tyrosol, Hydroxytyrosol, 3,4-DHPEA-EDA, and Verbascoside, and these compounds are marked by a high antioxidant activity and have numerous confirmed health benefits. Alongside of the University of Perugia and Frantoio CM – Centumbrie, Sterling Aromi is working on a project that extracts these rich phenolic compounds from OMWW, transforming an agricultural byproduct into a natural plant based functional ingredient.
Compounds phenolic compounds contained in extra-virgin olive oil and its by-products olives and olive leaves are known to have the following health benefits:
- Strengthening the Immune system
- Helping to prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Keeping glucose levels under check
- Regulating blood pressure
- Reducing endothelial dysfunctions
- Acting as an anti-oxidant and an anti-aging supplement
- Acting as chemo-preventive against several tumor forms
- Showing highly similar mechanism of action to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
This business model, along with our internal research and development unit, makes us to be specialists in the production of olive derived phenols extracts. This allows us to offer ingredients containing a high concentration level of Oleuropein, Hydroxytyrosol, Tyrosol and 3,4-DHPEA-EDA (oleacien), as well as a variety of olive derived innovative formulations having unique application in the food industry (both as a nutraceutical ingredient and a functional ingredient) as well as in pharmaceutical, animal nutrition and cosmetic sectors.
Hydroxytyrosol and 3,4-DHPEA-EDA, which are the most powerful antioxidant compounds of OMWW, has shown advanced antiradical properties compared to vitamin E and C, and thus has been used to prevent oxidation of lipids in fish products and could be used as functional supplement, food preservative in bakery products or life prolonging agents. In USA, olive pulp extracts have been approved by FDA with GRAS status (GRN No. 459) for being used as antioxidants in baked goods, beverages, cereals, sauces and dressings, seasonings, snacks, and functional foods at a level up to 3,000 mg/kg in the final food.
Phenols of OMWW can also be used as disinfectants in the food and chemical industries since they are known to exhibit antimicrobial action against E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, B. subtilis strains and Salmonella spp. This antimicrobial action is even greater than the respective activities induced by the individual phenolic compounds, indicating the synergistic action of the phenols contained in OMWW and is effective in the inhibition of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
By concentrating our efforts on the antioxidant properties of the olive pulp extract, derived from OMWW, we have developed a functional ingredient for the food industry, Biol. The Biol dry extract, with a 2% standard quantity of polyphenols, has successfully demonstrated its potentiality in preventing oxidation in multiple food industry applications:
- Vegan cookies with sunflower seed oil
- Flavored oils
- Frying oils
- Essential oils used in flavorings
- Fortification of Milk beverages
- Antimicrobial and antioxidant applications in the Food Industry
This product has been developed in response to the growing interest in natural antioxidant versus synthetic compounds and has been proven to successfully replace the following substances in food preparations:
- Tocopherol 307
- BHA E320
- E321 BHT
- Ascorbic acid E300
- Potassium sorbate E202
- Calcium lactate
- Ascorbic acid and its salts
- Sorbic acid and its salts
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrites and nitrates
- Moreover, in general all the antimicrobial and antioxidant additives