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Portuguese project develops new food products entirely based on carob

Created from new technological approaches and in order to combat food waste

On March 15, at 2 pm at the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto, the main conclusions of the Portuguese research project Alphamais – Development of new food preparations and functional ingredients based on carob will be presented. In three years of the project, financed by Norte 2020 and Algarve 2020, it was possible, through biotechnology, to create a set of new ingredients and functional food preparations using only carob.

The value of carob: national production is a world reference – Agroportal

Portugal is one of the world’s largest producers of carob, but its use is not widespread yet. In 2020, Portugal was the largest carob producer in the world and more than half of its production was exported to other countries. In addition to the socio-economic value of carob, there is also the historical value of this century-old crop, which is particularly important in the Algarve. Taking these data into account, the company Decorgel, together with researchers from the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry of the School of Biotechnology at the Catholic University of Portugal and researchers from the MED Research Center – Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development and the Superior Institute of Engineering of the University of Algarve, developed a research project with the particularity of looking at carob in a global way, creating value in an endogenous product and exploring its technological value, in an approach of totally natural transformation.

The project also brought new proposals for processing the by-products of carob processing, promoting their full use in obtaining new ingredients. In addition to the impact on enhancing Decorgel’s portfolio, it raises the potential of carob as a national product, promoting its integration into new products as a natural ingredient with high added value. Manuela Pintado, a researcher at the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry at the Catholic University of Portugal, explains that “the main results were obtaining new ingredients and functional food preparations, using carob in its entirety, using biotechnological solutions for micronization and extraction of compounds. Carob by-products were also valued with a view to obtaining ingredients and functional food preparations, exploring the ingredient in its entirety, in a zero waste logic.”

“Alphamais is intrinsically linked to the values of Decorgel and what we believe to be its role in the national fabric,” says António Nunes, CEO of Decorgel, adding that “the approach to the use of carob in a total way and through a natural transformation seeks to elevate its components to a use with nutritional, functional and technological advantages far above their traditional use.”

For Margarida Vieira, a researcher at MED – Instituto Mediterraneo for Agriculture, Environment and Development, who has been developing new products based on carob pulp, “this project brought a new vision on products to be developed with this fruit and was It is important to study the behavior of this new product in aqueous mixtures and with milk in the presence of sugar.”

The project consortium believes that this approach can leverage the value proposition of carob as a natural ingredient, taking it beyond the national border and demonstrating its value as an image of a product with a national seal for international promotion. “Part of the vision of this project is to promote its approach to carob and spread it to other national products with high potential, so that they can add value naturally and be fully exploited, with a view to exporting the identity of national products and ingredients. ,” concludes Decorgel’s CEO.

The closing session of the Portuguese research project Alphamais – Development of new food preparations and functional ingredients based on carob, funded by Norte 2020 (79%) and Algarve 2020 (21%), takes place on March 15, by the 2 pm, at the Arménio Miranda Auditorium of the Biotechnology Building of the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto.

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