The consumer lifestyle is changing constantly. Along with the increasing desire for fresh products and also quick to consume products, have led to the development of minimally processed (MP) foods.
Also, Fruits and vegetables being rich in antioxidants are gaining wider interest as a nutritional strategy to prevent diseases, as these are majorly the only source of antioxidants for a consumer.
The aim of minimally processing technologies is mainly to retain maximum desired characteristics in terms of flavour, colour, and texture of fresh-food products and also to provide foods chemically and microbiologically safe.
THE NEED FOR NATURAL COMPOUNDS
The main issue with the postharvest life of fresh-cut fruits is the development of physical disorders mainly due to browning on the cut surfaces. This is a result of physical stress imposed on cells during preparation. Mild chemical treatments, including reducing agents and chelating compounds, have been used as food additives, to avoid this browning.
Thus, natural compounds with antioxidant capacity that are useful to replace synthetic additives have generated a growing interest. Polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamin E&C could also be considered a legitimate challenge for the shelf life of healthy MP fruits because of their ability to scavenge free radicals and reactive oxygen species that can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
POTATO AS A SOURCE OF NATURAL COMPOUNDS
Wastes derived from food-processing industries can prove to be an interesting source of natural value-added compounds. The recovery and utilization of these waste products can be one of the solutions to the increasing environmental and economic problems caused by the increasing amount of vegetable waste and residues generated by food-processing industries.
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is one of the widely consumed vegetables in the world. People nowadays are shifting from its fresh to processed forms like mashed potatoes, potato chips, etc thereby leading to a wide rise in waste generation. A lot of byproducts and processing thus has led to a high potential for negative environmental impact. The management of potato byproducts representing an important environmental problem for food-processing companies is hence of utmost importance.
Potato is rich in starch, dietary fibre, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and phenolic compounds. Potato peels are the major waste obtained from the potato processing industry. Instead of simply being considered as useless, they can be utilised as a source of functional and bioactive compounds and also phenolic acids.
Thus, potato waste represents an easy and pocket-friendly resource and its recovery and recycling within the food chain. It thus can pose to be a sustainable strategy to address the present challenges of the processing world.
THE EXTRACTION PROCESS
Extraction of bioactive compounds, major polyphenols from potato skin by means of mild technologies allows the preservation of the nutritional and chemical properties, also the antioxidant power of these chemicals.
The application of conventional solvent extraction methods (CSE) to extract phenols from plant material is used widely. The only drawbacks are that it requires long extraction times, large amounts of organic solvents, and high temperatures that can cause the degradation of thermo-sensible molecules as well as contamination with trace amounts of potentially toxic solvents.
The sustainability of the extraction technology and the safety of the extract is of the utmost importance which cannot be compromised at any cost. Thus, Robles-Ramírez and Fritsch investigated a multi-step green extraction process to assess the effectiveness of bioactive compounds extracted from potato peel waste to reduce the oxidative degradation of different lipid food matrices
The objectives of their research were:
(i) To confirm the effectiveness of an innovative multi-step green extraction process to recover high-added-value antioxidant compounds from organic potato byproducts,
(ii) To evaluate the preservation of the main quality physicochemical parameters of MP fruits during postharvest storage.
In order to improve the yield by extraction and to avoid the oxidation of extracted compounds, the potato peels were cryomacerated by using solid carbon-dioxide, pre-utilizing it as a substrate in solid/liquid extraction with different solutions.
The extracts obtained by this method were utilized individually or in combination with citric acid for pretreatment of freshly-cut apples.
The results were:
- All the extracts were characterized by high antioxidant power and were rich in phenolic compounds showing a good activity in keeping the qualitative parameters of fresh-cut apples.
- A significant anti-browning effect, as well as a slowing down of the softening of fruits during storage, were observed.
The obtained results suggest the suitability of the potato extracts as antioxidant additives for fresh-cut fruits, thus avoiding the use of unsafe chemicals.
For the final validation of the proposed method, the results obtained in terms of shelf life extension were compared with those collected in the same experimental conditions when traditional preserving solutions i.e. ascorbic acid, citric acid, and BHT were put to use.
The results appeared to be very promising. The cryomaceration of potato peels proved to be very efficient as well as an easy way to realize the pre-treatment phase, thus promoting the extraction of bioactive compounds from these wastes.
Potato byproducts can hence act as a very good source of antioxidants, phenolic compounds and other bioactive compounds. Compounds obtained from potato peels can not only avoid the browning and softening of fresh-cut fruits during their Minimal Processing without posing to be toxic, but also reduce the wastage in food processing industries.
Waste utilisation is a must in all industries, not just food processing. Such researches and technologies can prove to be very effective in the long run to reduce the economic and environmental effects caused due to not utilising the wastes being generated.
This study of potato peels, a rich source of bioactive compounds, is one of the steps towards the effective utilisation of all the byproducts of potato produce and hence a good step towards better economic stability and waste-free environment.
Venturi, F., Bartolini, S., Sanmartin, C., Orlando, M., Taglieri, I., Macaluso, M., Lucchesini, M., Trivellini, A., Zinnia, A. and Mensuali, A., 2019. Potato Peels as a Source of Novel Green Extracts Suitable as Antioxidant Additives for Fresh-Cut Fruits. Applied Sciences, 9(12), p.2431.
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