In Europe, 8.5 million tons of tomatoes are cultivated annually. 1.5 million tons are sold directly to the consumer and 7 million are processed for products such as ketchup, sauces, etc. During this processing, some 40% of the tomato raw material ends up as residue mainly skin and seeds. The seeds, considered by the processing industry simply as waste or used as animal feed, is still an excellent source of nutrients such as carotenoids, proteins, sugars, fibre, wax and oils, these oils being nutritionally very valuable for their high unsaturated fats content.
Continuing with its line of research for evaluating food subproducts, the Basque research center AZTI is participating in the European project TOM (2003-2004), together with a consortium of European R&D companies and technological centres, to obtain natural food additives.
The fundamental aim of the European TOM project is the evaluation of this residue for obtaining and purification of these high-value nutritional compounds and their use as ingredients in the formulation and manufacture of functional foods or of foodstuffs the consumption of which provides additional health benefits, i.e. other than those nutrients provided by their intrinsic composition. The extraction of these substances will provide additional benefits and a significant reduction in the tomato residue generated in the tomato processing industry, up to 30%.
Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
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