Main research question/goal
This project seeks new or alternative processing of apples and pears, with a focus on high-value utilization and valorization of an important volume of unused valuable biomass (too-small or misshapen fruit, apple peelings, etc.). The researchers focus on valorization trajectories that lead to raw materials, ingredients or purified fractions obtained through optimized processes that ensure maximum preservation of health-promoting components. Product diversification is the final goal of this project.
Initially methods are developed to determine the overall quality and nutritional parameters of apple and pear. A methodology is also developed for the identification and quantification of the most relevant health promoting components in apples and pears. Second, a series of process-oriented developments are evaluated for both the production of raw materials and ingredients as well as for the purification of the most valuable components. This is done for a selected number of apple and pear cultivars. Relevance/Valorisation
The Flemish fruit sector is strongly oriented towards the production and exports of fruit for the fresh market. The apple-processing industry is rather limited and pear processing hardly exists. Research has previously shown that the by-products and wastes of the existing fruit processing industry contains valuable health-promoting components (vitamins, fibre and antioxidants). In the light of new trends such as functional and healthy diet and sustainable production, this project offers opportunities to develop realistic alternatives to the processing of apple and pear, resulting in maximal valorization of the high quality primary product produced.