Biobased antioxidants for plant oils


Olives on twigs with a bottle of olive oil
© Birgit Kutzera -

Olive polyphenols as healthy antioxidants in foods

Phenoliva is an EIT funded R&D project that is investigating the use of olive polyphenols as natural antioxidants in food products. Customized products are being developed to meet the needs of the industrial project partners. The focus is on retarding rancidity and on retention of the color and taste of foods.

Recovery of polyphenols from olive pulp

The antioxidants are recovered from olive pulp, a byproduct of olive oil production. The current practice is to store olive pulp in large evaporation ponds in order to reduce the water content by natural evaporation. The pulp is a concentrated sludge that is subsequently either fully dried and chemically extracted (to recover olive pomace oil) or directly disposed of as landfill. These practices have negative impacts such as intensive land utilization, unpleasant odors, greenhouse gas emissions, soil and water contamination due to leakage, insect proliferation, and high energy requirements for drying the pulp in oil extraction plants. Above all though, the valuable properties of olive pulp, such as its high antioxidant content and its potential as a raw material for modern day biogas production, go unutilized.

Circular waste management concept for the olive oil industry

Phenoliva aims to develop a circular waste management concept for the olive oil industry, improving the sustainability of a key industry in Mediterranean countries and providing the food industry with very effective natural antioxidants. This concept has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to produce valuable and sustainable raw materials.

Project term: 2019 to 2021
Project funding/ management: EIT-Food EU, EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020
Project partners: ETH Zürich (CH), CSIC (ES), Acesur (ES), Fraunhofer IVV (D), Puratos (D), Rethink Resource (CH), MASPEX (PL), Lubella (PL), Tymbark (PL)