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Olive oil ‘waste’ backed for functional beverage formulation

By Nathan Gray , 02-Oct-2012
Last updated on 02-Oct-2012 at 12:37 GMT

Antioxidant-rich ‘waste’ from olive oil production could be useful in the formulation of functional health drinks, suggest researchers

The study – published in the Journal of Functional Foods – examines the potential applications of olive mill waste waters in the preparation of functional drinks, and assesses the potential impact of beverage formulation factors on the bioavailability of antioxidants from the olive processing by-product.

Led by Abdelilah El Abbassi from Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco, the researchers reveal that phenolic compounds found in the olive processing by-product are ‘highly bioavailable’ in humans – which “supports the evidence that these phenolic components will exert beneficial effects on health.”

El Abbassi and his colleagues noted that while beverages are regularly consumed because of their taste or for refreshment, some drinks are also consumed for health reasons. “Furthermore, there is growing evidence that the constituents of some beverages possess anticancerogenic, antioxidative or antimutagenic effects.”

“The inclusion of olive mill wastewater (OMW) phenolic extract in beverage preparations may have a significant impact on the health of population through the reduction in incidence of cardiovascular and chronic degenerative diseases,” said the researchers.

“To prepare high quality OMW extracts for incorporation into a functional beverage, some precautions should be taken during olive fruit harvesting, transportation and olive oil production,” they explained – adding that extracts should be stored under appropriate conditions “that minimize the loss of constituents responsible for the bioactivity.”

Healthy drinks

The team noted that polyphenols and flavonoids found in green and black teas have been suggested to have anti-cancer effects, whilst coffee consumption has been reported to reduce the risk various health conditions – including some cancers.

The researchers noted that anti-inflammatory effects that arise from the phenolic compounds in olives “have been shown to provide protection against diseases marked by an inflammatory component.”

“In addition, many epidemiological studies have strongly suggested the existence of a correlation between intake of polyphenol-rich foods and low mortality due to coronary heart disease,” said El Abbassi and his team.

Review details

El Abbassi and his colleagues concluded that if antioxidant-rich by-products from olive processing are to be incorporated into functional beverages, then such ‘waste’ extracts must be processed and stored using appropriate conditions – including a pH and temperature that would maintain their concentration of phenolic compounds while minimizing degradation of the phenolic compounds and browning of the extract.

“Understanding the impact of formulation is particularly critical for formulated products,” they said.

In addition the team noted that commercially formulated products often contain food additives including ascorbic acid, EDTA and acidulants like citric acid or carbon dioxide.

“In the case of beverages prepared by OMW extract, this later can play a double role providing nutriments and antioxidants. Therefore, the use of additional antioxidants is not needed.”

Source: Journal of Functional Foods
Volume 4, Issue 1 , Pages 53–65, doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2012.01.002
“Potential use of olive mill wastewater in the preparation of functional beverages: A review”
Authors: Hanaa Zbakh, Abdelilah El Abbassi

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