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Sustainable use of phytochemicals extracted from agro-industrial by-products: encapsulation, biological evaluation and application as food additives


The by-products obtained after food processing consist mainly of biopolymers and bioactive molecules. The sustainable utilization of these products can be an alternative, since approximately 50% of the fruit can be discarded after pulp processing, for example. Thus, the main objectives of this project are (i) to produce phytochemical extracts from the by-products obtained after pineapple, melon, acerola and passion fruit pulp processing in different extraction media (chitosan solution or ethanolic solution); (ii) to encapsulate the phytochemicals in chitosan particles by ionic gelation or in liposomes covered with chitosan; (ii) dry the encapsulated particles using spray dryer to enable their application as additives in biodegradable coatings or 3D print foods; (iii) evaluate the cytotoxicity, carcinogenic effects, in vitro digestibility and effect on hepatic steatosis of the particles in suspension or dryed, (iv) produce biodegradable films using the residue from the extractions performed in the first step. The quantification of phytochemicals will be performed by spectrophotometry or high performance liquid chromatography and their identification by high resolution mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-QTOF MS). After encapsulation, relevant characterizations will be performed, such as: encapsulation efficiency, particle size distribution, zeta potential, transmission or scanning electron microscopy, according to the particle size, antioxidant and antifungal capacity. The coatings, biodegradable films and foods will also be characterized in relation to their mechanical and functional properties to evaluate the feasibility of these applications. (AU)

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