Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, December 2016

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30 Sustainability Waste Not, Want not these neglected ingredient by-products have newly discovered nutrition potential. By RoBBy GaRdNeR F ood wastage is a critical concern. An estimated one-third of all food pro- duced today is either lost in the supply chain or wasted outright, 1 and the ramifca- tions for the planet are cumulatively destruc- tive. While consumers' over-purchasing habits are partly to blame, growers and man- ufacturers share an equal burden. Poor trans- port and storage of food items contribute to food wastage. Perhaps an even more glaring issue is the amount of edible and otherwise useful plant material that gets thrown out by growers and processors every day. Diverting undesirable plant parts to com- post can be a positive business practice. Oth- er approaches, however, may let frms turn a proft from plant and other waste. Tanks to the leadership of responsible businesses, as well as research breakthroughs, we're fnding new human uses for these plant parts at an increasing rate. Grape For all of the wine and grape juice in pro- duction, there's a whole lot of grape seed and pomace potentially going to waste. To redirect these materials to commerce, di- etary supplement ingredient companies turn them into grape seed extracts and grape skin extracts. Te sizable market for grape seed and grape skin extracts is well established. Te ingredient suppliers that participate in this space include companies such as Poly- phenolics Inc. (Madera, CA) with its water- extracted grape products, and Draco Natural Products (San Jose, CA), a company that supplies numerous seed- and pomace-based plant extracts (not just from grapes) to do- mestic and international customers. Independent researchers, as well as com- panies with vested interest in grape extracts, have published positive studies on human consumption of these extracts for uses such as helping to lower blood pressure. Teir re- search continues, with recent fndings sup- porting the use of grape pomace in brewed cofee drinks as a potential free radical scav- enger, 2 as well as a characterization of the bioactive compounds in wine grape skins, including, but not limited to, phenolic com- pounds, anthocyanins, favonoids, and poly- unsaturated fatty acids. 3 Avocado Fresh avocado can fetch a high price, but what of the hard pit left over from every fruit? Seeing a potential missed opportu- nity—in the guacamole industry, perhaps?—interested par- ties are giving avocado seeds a closer look. Earlier this year, re- searchers in Mexico proposed that avocado seeds may contain use- ful starch. After extract- ing the starch and com- paring it to cornstarch, the researchers determined that avocado seed starch has potential for thickening and gelling of foodstufs. Te same qualities may one day even make this starch useful for pharmaceutical delivery (into the body) and as a component of food packaging. 4 Avocado seeds have additional potential human uses. A research team years ago dis- covered the seeds' potential (when crushed) as an orange food colorant. 5 Ingredients frm Ecuadorian Rainforest LLC (Belleville, NJ), which sells an avocado seed powder to food and dietary supplement manufactur- ers (alongside other seed powders, such as pumpkin), says avocado seeds are particu- larly rich in antioxidants. 6 Chocolate and Coffee During production of chocolate and cofee for the masses, the unused pods and grounds of these luxury commodities are often repur- posed for compost or garden mulch, or they are simply discarded (which can spread cocoa crop disease). But there are ways of redirecting discards to beneft human health. waSanajai/ShutterStock.com; iStockphoto.com/meltonmedia ■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK december 2016

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