The Institute of Horticulture (LatHort) in close cooperation with leading national and international research institutions, i.e., CEBAS-CSIC, Eesti Maaülikool, EMÜ, University of Latvia, LLU has completed the ERDF PostDoc Latvia No.184.108.40.206/VIAA/1/16/201 project implemented from 20.05.2017 to 08.03.2020 under the supervision of the Latvian State Education Development Agency.
There is a growing demand for natural ingredients, and food products that contain fruits become recognized by the industry. Plant-derived products appreciations by the consumers lead to a steadily growing amount of processing by-products. Fruit and cereal by-products represent the abundance of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin which makes it suitable as feedstuff, while its use in the food processing sector presents a challenge for food technologists.
To foster the use of by-products more rationally and contribute towards a circular economy, in 2017 the Institute of Horticulture (LatHort) in cooperation with VIAA has launched the ERDF PostDoc Latvia project. The purpose of the project aimed at valorizing fruit and cereal by-products through a biorefining process accomplished by various hydrolytic enzymes – biocatalysts to modify the structure of dietary fiber and make this material valid for use within the food industry.
As part of the industrial research conducted, the elaborated biorefining process essentially allowed to enhance the nutritional quality and physical-chemical properties of the by-products. The availability of free xylose, arabinose, glucose as the final degradation products of hemicellulose and cellulose, and bioactive compounds in obtained hydrolysates made it attainable to use it as growth-promoting substrates to ensure the viability of probiotic bacteria. Gathered hydrolysates along with remaining solids were used as prebiotics for the development of food products containing both dietary fiber and probiotic bacteria, thus making the developed products symbiotic. The availability of sugar monomers contributed to the preservation of lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 viability in the elaborated products for three months.
One patent of invention describing the preparation of dietary fiber product with synbiotic properties has been approved for registration by the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia.
The results were disseminated as research and popular science articles and by taking advantage of various meetings and scientific conferences. Anyone interested in more details, please click the link.