The Jorge Basadre Grohmann National University (UNJBG) and the Private University of Tacna (UPT), with the support of the National Fund for Scientific, Technological Development and Technological Innovation (Fondecyt), have been developing a project to convert the agroindustrial waste of pomegranates into high-value raw material.
This fruit is characterized by its high concentration of antioxidants. According to various studies, its components help reduce blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and detoxify the body, preventing and controlling diabetes and hypertension. In addition, the biocomposites of this fruit stimulate and strengthen the immune system, helping it to create a barrier that prevents bacteria and viruses from entering it and affecting our health.
The research seeks to obtain extracts of bioactive compounds with special characteristics from the fruit’s processing residues. The extracts are obtained from the fruit via an environmentally friendly process, and the use of pressure and moderate temperatures maintain the biological quality and activity of the extracted biocomposites.
“The agro-industrial residue of the processed pomegranate is a high-value raw material. It is a source of biocomposites with high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activity, that are beneficial for human health,” stated Dr. Sylvia Carolina Alcazar Alay, the project’s head researcher. “Pomegranate is made up of phenolic compounds, essential fatty acids, tocopherols, organic acids, and carotenoids. These compounds are present in their shells and seeds, so the extracts obtained can be used in the food, cosmetic, or pharmaceutical industry. We create value through waste, which is a sustainable alternative for the processing of other agro-industrial products, reducing or eliminating these wastes, in order to incorporate them into the production chain.”
“We are currently in the last stage of our research. We have the support of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Production of Tacna to present a business plan to work with farmers and companies in the agro-industrial sector. It highlights why the sector should invest in our process and how research can help to the development of Tacna’s community,” she stated.
The UNJBG received financing from Concytec, in agreement with the World Bank, through its executing unit Fondecyt, to carry out this initiative.