Research Examines Functional Ingredients in Olive Pomace

A Spanish research project is evaluating the use of olive pomace paste for the development new health products.

Olive oil pomace being collected as production waste in a modern oil mill
Sep. 17, 2018
By Rosa Gonzalez-Lamas
Olive oil pomace being collected as production waste in a modern oil mill

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New uses and ben­e­fits of olive pomace paste are explored in NUDACE, a Spanish research project that focuses on the obten­tion of nutraceu­ti­cals and func­tional ingre­di­ents from olives, with a view to help­ing fight degen­er­a­tive processes asso­ci­ated to aging.

There have been inter­est­ing find­ings regard­ing the func­tional effects of the extracts so far obtained.- Marga Fernández, AINIA

Nutraceuticals are sub­stances iso­lated from foods or herbal prod­ucts that pro­vide mul­ti­ple nutri­tional and ther­a­peu­tic prop­er­ties. They are gen­er­ally sold in med­i­c­i­nal forms not usu­ally asso­ci­ated with food.

A research con­sor­tium formed by Matarromera Group; Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness; the Institute of Biology and Molecular Genetics (IBGM-CSIC,); and AINIA, a Spanish research insti­tu­tion, works on the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of these ben­e­fi­cial sub­stances found in olive pomace paste with a view to improv­ing extrac­tion processes and enhanc­ing the healthy traits of olive oils.

Olive pomace is a by-prod­uct of olive oil pro­duc­tion. It is formed by the water, skin and stones that remain after extrac­tion and has the poten­tial use in the devel­op­ment of health prod­ucts because of its antiox­i­dant and anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties.

Depending on fac­tors related to olive cul­ti­va­tion and pro­cess­ing, olive pomace paste has dif­fer­ent chem­i­cal, phys­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics which the extracted com­pounds reflect.


The paste used for the project is pro­vided by Oliduero, an olive oil mill which belongs to Matarromera Group. It is located in Castilla y León, a Spanish region with a con­ti­nen­tal cli­mate.

Distinct project phases and respon­si­bil­i­ties have been defined for the joint R&D exer­cise.

Olive oil pomace being collected as production waste in a modern oil mill

AINIA over­sees the devel­op­ment of the process to obtain extracts from olive pomace paste that are rich in bioac­tive com­pounds, such as polyphe­nols and triter­penic acids. Triterpenes are related to many med­i­c­i­nal plants uti­lized against dis­eases in which the immune sys­tem is impli­cated. During this phase an array of extrac­tion processes are being explored to ascer­tain their sus­tain­abil­ity and long-term tech­ni­cal and finan­cial via­bil­ity.

IBGM-CSIC is respon­si­ble for the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the anti-inflam­ma­tory and antiox­i­dant actions of the extracted com­pounds to study their effect on aging.

The ini­tial research looks promiss­ing. There have been inter­est­ing find­ings regard­ing the func­tional effects of the extracts so far obtained,” reported Marga Fernández, in charge of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for AINIA.

Once these nutraceu­ti­cals are iden­ti­fied, Matarromera Group will work on the opti­miza­tion of the olive oil pro­duc­tion processes to increase the con­cen­tra­tion of these nutraceu­ti­cals, enrich­ing the oil and mak­ing it health­ier and more sta­ble. This will also help deter­mine which vari­ables in the pro­duc­tion process might exert an influ­ence on the num­ber of micronu­tri­ents and bioac­tive com­pounds of the final prod­uct, and their prospec­tive health ben­e­fits.

The research is expected to con­clude in 2019.

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