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How can microwaves be used to obtain and modulate new ingredients?


Several changes have been observed in the last decade in society, since the search for foods that promote health and well-being, as well as the concern of most sectors searching for sustainable development. In this context, microwave technology for compound extraction processes has emerged as an alternative to traditional not only due to its sustainable aspects, but also the quality of the product. However, the use of this technology for this purpose is recent, requiring more investment and study not only to optimize the extraction process, but to unravel the influence of the process parameters on the modulation of extracted ingredients. Although there is research showing that microwave assisted extraction is able to select natural compounds and/or change the structure of proteins, there is still a lack of knowledge of how this change occurs and, mainly, how these changes impact the techno-functional properties of the ingredients. Thus, this project proposes an in-depth study divided into different stages: i) study of the extraction parameters and characterization of the ingredients (protein and bioactive compounds); ii) identification of structural changes in proteins extracted under different conditions; iii) evaluation of the technological properties (solubility, emulsifying capacity, etc.) of proteins and functional properties (antioxidant activity, pigmentation etc.) of active compounds and iv) study of stability and digestibility of the ingredients during in vitro digestion. In this way, it will be possible to correlate the influence of microwaves as energy source on the extraction of ingredients with their industrial technological application and impact on consumer health. (AU)

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