The aim is to offer alternatives to the use of waste discarded from this fruit
MEXICO – The Interdisciplinary Research Center for Regional Integral Development (CIIDIR), Oaxaca unit, developed a project to extract and preserve the nutritional, functional and nutraceutical compounds from papaya peel.
The aim is to offer alternatives to the use of waste in the field or fruit shell which is discarded, said Dr. Lilia Leticia Mendez Lagunas, in an interview with the News Agency of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).
The main focus of the study is to extract nutraceutical compounds present in the shell, with the intention of holding them and add them to nutritional supplements that can prevent chronic degenerative diseases.
The specialist said that research in the laboratory identified antioxidant activity in the peel of the fruit. This is expected due to the presence of phenols, such as carotenoids and beta-carotene.
He said that there are some molecules in our body that react to contact with oxygen causing diseases such as cancer. When we consume high levels of antioxidants we prevent these radicals from taking part in any reaction.
The doctor said that the purpose pursued by the research is to develop products with abundant antioxidant activity, ie a capsule supplement contains the same effect as consuming two kilograms of papaya.
Moreover, he added, the extracted compounds may be added to other foods, such as milk or gelatin.
The study also seeks alternatives to conventional conservation, based on aggressive chemical treatments that compromise the final quality of the product and, in some cases, decreases the activity of nutraceuticals and functional compounds.
The researcher said that they are working with natural mucilage to cover the activity of the product, although this study can take a long time to verify that the functions to exposure to the environment or certain period are not lost.
He noted that in addition to working on the identification and extraction of functional compounds from papaya, they are working in parallel with pea and pitaya to create products with higher nutritional value.