Polyphenol recovery from agri-food byproducts (grape pomaces) for powder production to be used as a food additive for different food matrices (nuts, chips, biscuits).
At an environmental level, problems related to grape pomace disposal could emerge when burying these byproducts since this could affect the soil and the groundwater quality, the flora and fauna. When used as fertilizers, they even might prevent germination properties. Consequently, the valorization of those byproducts reduces wastes and permits the purification of added-value products. The assimilation of grape pomaces into the food cycle, avoids thus, major environmental problems, especially those of the phenols increased chemical and biochemical oxygen demands.
At a technical level, the conventional industrial phenolic compounds extraction from grape pomace is a batch or continuous process, that uses organic solvents, namely, ethanol, methanol, etc. Moderate temperatures (50°C – 60°C) and rather long times (3 – 20 hr) are performed in the conventional extraction process. The conventional technique consumes a lot of energy and might use toxic and polluting solvents.
Dr. Rajha has conceived Ired-Irrad®, a newly-patented infrared (IR) extraction technique at Faculté des Sciences, Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth. IR technology is based on heating the plant material with IR radiation. Therefore, she will be testing IR radiations as an energy source in the processes of the extraction of bioactive compounds. Infrareds have many advantages compared to classical methods, including the low energy consumption and the high quality of the obtained extracts. Water (green and GRAS) can be used as a solvent. This technique is environment friendly.
Dr. Rajha’s is planning on adding polyphenol powder to nuts, chips, biscuits, cereal bars and chocolate, therefore creating a new product with a high added-value and health beneficial effects.