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Workshop on the nutraceutical properties of PGI Pachino tomatoes

On 12 October 2021, a high-profile scientific and cultural conference was held in Portopalo di Capo Passero (SR), Sicily, organized by the Consorzio di Tutela del Pomodoro di Pachino Igp on the theme of "The nutraceutical properties of Pachino tomato Igp".

The event was held in compliance with the anti-Covid-19 regulations. (Click here to access the complete photo album of the event)

After the greetings of the representatives, it was the turn of the President of the consortium, Sebastiano Fortunato, who welcomed the participants and the speakers to express his gratitude for their presence.  

In the middle, the president of the Consorzio di Tutela del Pomodoro di Pachino Igp, Sebastiano Fortunato

"The consortium has long since embarked on a new path to communicate the sustainability and nutraceutical aspects of a product that has all the necessary characteristics to satisfy a modern, attentive and demanding consumer. The new frontier alongside the marketing of the fresh and processed product, now known throughout the world, is that of nutraceuticals, which sees us engaged in numerous research activities with prestigious partners such as universities and other institutions," said Fortunato. 

Salvatore Francavilla

The floor was then given to Salvatore Francavilla, the consortium's project manager, who set up and implemented the initiative under which the conference is part of, financed with the contribution of the General Directorate for the Promotion of Agri-food Quality (Decr. Mipaaf PAQI 04 N. 9375243 - 14/12/2020).

"This action is part of the process of upholding the value of our products, such as our Pachino IGP tomato, by strengthening the bond with the territory," continued Francavilla.

Above, Prof. Rosario Pignatello and Dr. Tiziana Pecora

The introduction to the conference was curated by Rosario Pignatello, Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology and Director of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences at the University of Catania.

There are many facets to the consumption of Pachino tomatoes PGI," said the professor." These include the consumption of the fresh product, appreciated for its organoleptic qualities that are its added value, and the possible use of extracts and concentrates, which in the field of nutraceutical science can raise the standard of human health. In the latter case, we are talking about supplements, the composition of which requires experimentation and time."

Above, on the right, Prof. Cherubino Leonardi; on the left, journalist Manuela Soressi, who moderated the meeting.

This was followed by the scheduled speeches, which began with that of Cherubino Leonardi, Professor of Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, at the University of Catania.

The PGI Pachino tomato is one of the most successful typical products, thanks to the soil and climate conditions in which it is grown. Although it can count on a set of extremely favorable conditions, the Pachino tomato is currently confronted with the need to adapt the way it is grown."

Another report was provided by Fabio Galvano, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition-Department of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Catania, who spoke on the ‘Nutritional value of PGI Pachino tomatoes: from the brand to the qualitative analysis’.

Above, from left: Prof. Fabio Galvano and Prof. Valeria Sorrenti

"Its nutritional properties are due to its vitamin-mineral content (vitamin C, K, folate, potassium) and its pool of antioxidant carotenoid pigments (lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin). The promotion of the PGI Pachino cannot be separated from the nutritional quality analysis, which is not yet known, and which can add value to the standard product”.

Valeria Sorrenti, associate professor of biochemistry at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences at the University of Catania, spoke about 'The beneficial activities of bioactive compounds in tomatoes".

A slide by Prof. Sorrenti. (Click here to access the complete photo album of the event)

"Fruit and vegetables are considered functional foods as they contain high amounts of substances with remarkable antioxidant properties capable of preventing oxidative stress, which is at the basis of the main chronic and degenerative diseases. The tomato is rich in sugars, vitamins (A, C and E), minerals and antioxidants (carotenoids and phenolic compounds). Lycopene is the main carotenoid present in tomatoes. Cultivar and harvest time are active factors in determining changes in the metabolic profile. Numerous scientific evidences report multiple beneficial effects of lycopene, including a possible anti-tumoral effect. Lycopene is very abundant in tomato skin," said Sorrenti. 

Above, Dr. Paolo Rapisarda, research manager at the CREA in Acireale, Sicily

Paolo Rapisarda, research manager at CREA in the Sicilian province of Acireale, spoke about the processing of tomato waste. The researcher explained that "The PGI Pachino tomato is represents one of the Italian top quality food products for its high sensory, nutritional and health properties, all of which reflect the territory of origin. In order to ensure the high quality of the product destined for the fresh market, the fruit is rigorously selected both in the field and in the warehouse, which generates waste that can be used for the production of juice, sauce, puree as well as ketchup or other derivatives. By-products are also produced from the peels and seeds. 

"These residues, if not properly treated become waste, generating problems of disposal, environmental pollution and a significant increase in processing costs. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce a new segment within the supply chain that foresees a rational use of by-products for the production of substances with high added value (phenols, lycopene, oil from seeds, etc.) to be addressed to the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries," continued the research manager.

The conference continued with numerous in-depth discussions.

For more information:
Sebastiano Fortunato
Consorzio di Tutela Pomodoro
di Pachino Igp
Via Milano, 2
96018 Pachino (SR) - Italy
+39 0931 595106

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