Adding value to the by-products generated by the processing of certain fruit and vegetables is one of the objectives of the producer and marketer Vicente Peris. To this end, they eagerly accepted to collaborate in a project of the University of Castile-La Mancha, which seeks to create functional foods replacing saturated fats with other polyunsaturated ones and antioxidants from pumpkin or melon seed oils, among others.
At the request of the research group, Peris prepares batches of melon and pumpkin seeds and sends them to the Albacete campus of the University of Castile-La Mancha, where they are received by the team of José Emilio Pardo González, head of the project and professor at the ETS of Engineers and Agronomists. There they clean and prepare the seeds for grinding, extract the oil with a hydraulic press and characterize the oils obtained.
Cleaning of pumpkin seeds
The project "Formulation and economic valorization of functional foods from seeds rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants" is being carried out in a first phase with traditional foods from the Spanish region of Castile-La Mancha. Specifically, we work with both meat and bakery products, such as the miguelitos de La Roda, for which 25% of the butter and vegetable fats have been replaced in field tests with pumpkin and melon seed oils.
These synergies between the university and the business environment are highly efficient due to their social, economic and environmental benefits. In this case, developing healthier foods is a global good for the health of consumers, and doing so with by-products from agri-food activity, and through friendly processes, ensures both business and sustainability-related benefits, which is the basis of the circular economy.
Melon and pumpkin seed oils obtained by the University of Castile-La Mancha.
"We highly value the line of work that the University of Castile-La Mancha has launched, because it opens the door to the recovery of wastes from the processing of various cucurbits whose cultivation is widespread in Spain," says Alberto Montaña , general manager of Vicente Peris. "The use of these oils helps in the valorization of traditional foods, providing healthy compounds."
This research project is being carried out as part of the state-wide R + D + i projects 'Research Challenges', oriented towards tackling the Challenges of Society and developed within the framework of the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation, in line with the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
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