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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Adding Value to Plant-Based Waste Materials through Development of Novel, Healthy Ingredients and Functional Foods

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Project Number: 2030-41440-007-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: May 19, 2015
End Date: May 18, 2020

Objective:
The overall goal of this research project is to make food production more sustainable by using food processing technologies to add value to the byproducts generated from the harvest of specialty crops and production of processed foods. We will focus on the following three objectives over the next five years: Objective 1: Increase the commercial value of plant-based, postharvest waste materials, high in dietary fiber and/or polyphenols (grape, berries, tomato, carrot, and olive pomace, olive leaves and water, mushroom byproducts), by reprocessing into healthful food ingredients. 1.1: Screen processing wastes for nutritional properties of the whole pomace, seeds, skins, and the extractable and nonextractable (high fiber) fractions using appropriate animal models. 1.2: Increase value by developing healthful ingredients with improved bioaccessibility to bioactive polyphenols by process treatments such as extrusion, thermal, chemical and enzymatic processing of the whole waste. Objective 2: Enable new, commercial functional foods from high protein–based waste materials (nuts, legumes, rice, fish). 2.1: Analyze nutrient content of processed farm waste (soybean, peanut, rice and salmon) for functional properties and nutritional quality of protein fraction. 2.2: Formulate and test high protein gluten free health promoting products for consumer acceptability. Objective 3: Enable value-added commercial applications of nanofibers from specialty crop waste materials to deliver bioactives in new functional foods. Objective 4: Increase the utilization of post-harvest waste materials by identifying and removing astringent and mineral components that detract from taste, quality, nutritional value and consumer acceptance.

Approach:
Objective 1: Determine if processed food wastes or their components from regional fruit and vegetable food processing have health promoting properties by using animal models of obesity and related metabolic diseases to evaluate bioactivity. Animal models are necessary since many bioactive compounds are not absorbed directly but are mediated by gut bacteria. Some waste materials may require fractionation, for example seeds from peels, in order to concentrate bioactive components to a useful level. Bioavailability and bioactivity of more bioactive compounds such as polyphenolics and plant sterols may be increased by removing and modifying dietary fibers that block accessibility to enzymes and gut bacteria. Bioactive food wastes such as mushrooms with high vitamin D content will be processed into films or coatings. Objective 2: Develop new healthy and flavorful foods from high protein waste materials. Processing wastes from soybeans, peanuts, rice and salmon will be analyzed for protein composition and food related physico-chemical properties. The waste materials will be formulated into foods to increase protein content and improve protein quality. Waste ingredients are often high in insoluble fibers that reduce functionality and may require fractionation from fiber to improve useful properties. Objective 3: Develop blow spinning technology to efficiently produce natural nanofibers for controlled release applications and evaluate potential pulmonary toxicity effects of nanofibers in mice after intratracheal instillation of nanofibers. Using blow spinning processes nanofibers will be created from food ingredients such as gelatin, chitosan, and fruit and vegetable pomaces (grape, carrot, tomato and olive) in order to eliminate or reduce potential inhalation inflammation or toxicity. Although the nanofibers will be used for encapsulation of bioactive compounds for oral delivery the potential for inhalation during process requires toxicity testing. The ingredients as well as the nanofibers will be evaluated for inflammation and toxicity in a mouse model to determine degree and persistence of inflammation or toxicity if any. Ingredients that are most biocompatible will be used in subsequent studies. Objective 4: Develop strategies to mitigate astringency in post-harvest materials in order to increase their utilization. Tannins and minerals contribute to astringency and the identification and characterization of these components is essential. Total and free mineral contents in waste materials (nut shells, hulls, pits, pomaces, skins and seeds from stone fruits, nuts, and persimmons) will be measured using microwave-induced plasma atomic emission spectrometry following microwave-assisted digestion or leaching. Tannin levels in the same materials will be measured using total soluble phenolic, potassium iodate (hydrolysable tannin), and vanillin (condensed tannin) assays. The metal (Zn, Cu, Fe) and protein binding properties of waste material tannins will be measured and compared to the properties of commercially available tannins.

Last Modified: 09/22/2017
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