Thursday, 2 February, 2023
The main objectives of the LifeCitrus project were to demonstrate the effectiveness of an innovative industrial process able to obtain natural ingredients from discarded parts of citrus fruits, as well as, to demonstrate the applicability of the obtained ingredients for the preparation of jams, jellies, juices and other foodstuffs. In order to achieve these objectives, an intensive test programme and a detailed study has been done, as planned in the proposal, using a semi-industrial plant of the proposed process. The results of this have been collected in a key deliverable: report about the process effectiveness and the characterisation of obtained ingredients and final products. The conclusion of this report is that the effectiveness of the proposed process and the obtained ingredient has been demonstrated. The transformation of citrus residues into a citrus puree for substituting commercial pectins is highly profitable. The application of the new ingredient as natural substitute for pectin generates a new line of industrialization. However, the location of the processing plant is a fundamental factor that may minimise the cost for residues transportation. Throughout the test programme, the objectives of 3.000 kg residues processed, and 12 different foodstuffs produced have been achieved: - In the first phase of the test programme, 3.160 kg of citrus discarded parts were shipped from the AMC’s plant to CTC; 2.980 kg of them have been used in the test programme (actions B1 and B2) and 180 kg were used in action B3. - In the second phase of the test programme, 27 samples of 13 different foodstuffs were prepared using the puree from the transformation of the citrus discarded parts. However, the overall goal of 10.000 kg of citrus residues processed within the all implementation actions has not been achieved. Despite the number of tests developed in the demonstration and disclosure actions (B3, B4 and B5) was satisfactory, the additional residues processed on them were 2.596 kg in action B3 and 800 kg in action B4. Then, the total amount of residues processed in the project has been 6.556 kg. The discarded parts of citrus fruits are currently considered as a residue of the citrus transformation industry and fresh citrus marketers, but they can be valorised through the proposed process, generating a waste reduction of between 60- 80% in volume, depending if the by-waste come from juice industries or from whole citrus. Then, other important objective of the LifeCitrus project has been to disseminate among European citrus farmers, marketers and industries, relative associations and public bodies the concept that citrus industry scrap may be seen no longer as a polluting agro-industrial residue but as a valuable natural raw material. Final Report LIFECITRUS LIFE14 ENV/ES/000326 4 Given that the proposed process generates gelling agents not labelled with an ‘E-number’, usable as a natural ingredient in many food products replacing ‘E-number’ additives, the promotion of the use of the obtained ingredients in agro-food industries to produce healthy foodstuffs is also an objective of the project. Great efforts have been done in order to spread the project know-how to industry operators and foster the replicability of the transformation process. 92 regional companies were contacted: 48 of them process lemon, 53 also process other citrus and non-citrus fruits and 43 produce jams, jellies and/or other foodstuffs. There were also contacted national and international companies: 58 of them process citrus fruits and 61 produce jams, jellies and/or other foodstuffs. After reaching the objectives of contact with 50 regional and 60 national/international companies, beneficiaries continued informing entities aiming to improve the replicability and transferability potential of the project.