Exotic fruit by-products may have use as food additives, says review

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food additive, Nutrition, Flavor

By-products from exotic fruit may represent a rich and untapped source of natural food ingredients, according to a new review.

The review, published in Food Research International​, highlights the potential for using by-products of exotic fruit processing as natural additives for the food industry. However, the authors noted that there are currently no major exploitations of these sources, adding that “there is a great opportunity for agribusiness in this area.”

“The mass of by-products obtained as a result of processing tropical exotic crops may approach or even exceed that of the corresponding valuable product affecting the economics of growing tropical exotic crops,”​ said the authors, led by Dr. Jesús Fernando Ayala-Zavala from the Center for Food Research and Development in Mexico.

“Amongst the possible uses for these compounds that can be found in the food industry are as antioxidants (avoiding browning and lipid oxidation and as functional food ingredients), antimicrobials, flavouring, colorants and texturiser additives,”​ they added.

Increased trade

Tropical exotic fruit production, trade and consumption have increased significantly on the domestic and international markets.

However, in many cases the raw tropical exotic fruit is not consumed directly by humans, and first undergoes processing to separate the desired value product from other constituents of the plant tissue.

“For instance, processing of coffee generally involves separating the desired beans from the by-products of processing, which consist of the fruit skin and other undesirable constituents … Likewise, tropical exotic crops such as pineapple, taro, papaya, and mango are typically valued for their fruit,”​ said the authors.

The new review aimed to promote the production and processing of exotic fruits by highlighting the potential for exploitation of by-products that are rich in natural bioactive compounds for use as additives.

Study details

The authors explained noted that the entire body of tropical exotic fruits are rich in many bioactive compounds, including phenolic constituents, carotenoids, vitamins and dietary fibre.

Ayala-Zavala and his colleagues said that the fruit processing industry, which deals with high percentages of ‘waste’ by-products such as peels, seeds and unused flesh, could be utilising these by-products to produce natural food additives, as in most cases, “the wasted by-products can present similar or even higher contents of compounds than the final produce does.”

“Exploitation of the entire plant tissue could have economic benefits to producers and a beneficial impact on the environment, leading to a greater diversity of products directed mainly to human usage,” ​said the authors.

The authors said that there are several potential for tropical exotic fruit by-products that may be considered, the major use being as food additives such as antimicrobials, antioxidants, colorants, flavourings, and thickener agents.

“The phytochemicals in these fruits could have greater application in the food industry for increasing the stability and shelf life of food products,”​ they added.

Source: Food Research International
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2011.02.021
“Agro-industrial potential of exotic fruit byproducts as a source of food additives”
Authors: J.F. Ayala-Zavala, V. Vega-Vega, C. Rosas-Domínguez, H. Palafox-Carlos, J.A. Villa-Rodriguez, Md. Wasim Siddiqui, J.E. Dávila-Aviña, G.A. González-Aguilar

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