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A UPV and Health project analyzes surpluses of persimmons and oranges as prebiotics in healthier diets

VALENCIA, 4 Dec.

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A UPV and Health project analyzes surpluses of persimmons and oranges as prebiotics in healthier diets

VALENCIA, 4 Dec. (EUROPA PRESS) -

The Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and the Ministry of Health, through the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research of the Valencian Community (Fisabio), have started the 'ReciclaSalud' project, which seeks to provide benefits in the health by modulating the intestinal microbiota.

The initiative aims to revalue surplus persimmon and orange bagasse through their transformation into ingredients with high added value with a prebiotic effect on the intestinal microbiota and that can be appropriately used for the formulation of healthier foods and diets. and sustainable, the academic institution specifies in a statement.

Agricultural byproducts, the UPV explains, contain compounds such as polyphenols, fiber and carotenoids that have been scientifically related to the benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables. These bioactive compounds, that is, they positively influence cellular and physiological activities, reach the colon undigested or partially degraded. They are then metabolized by the intestinal microbiota, producing metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids that are potentially beneficial for health.

'ReciclaSalud' contemplates a pilot trial of the prebiotic effect of these ingredients with high added value on the microbiota of postmenopausal women with chronic inflammatory processes using the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME*) available at the UPV and which simulates the entire digestive process. (oral, gastric, intestinal digestion and colonic fermentation).

In recent years, the SHIME* simulator has been improved and validated to study both the digestibility and bioaccessibility of foods and the possible prebiotic properties of food ingredients on the intestinal microbiota or its metabolic activity on different bioactive compounds.

The doctor and researcher responsible for the 'Human microbiome, diet and health' group at Fisabio, María José Gosalbes, has assured that "the target population is postmenopausal women, but this approach can be applied to other groups such as the geriatric or other segments of the population. population with specific nutritional requirements, such as athletes or sportsmen.

"Another objective of the study is the isolation and characterization of the most abundant and potentially beneficial bacteria after colonic fermentation and thus be able to establish whether they meet the requirements established by the WHO to be considered probiotics," said researcher María José Gosalbes. .

For her part, the doctor and main researcher of the project at the UPV, Noelia Betoret, has stressed the importance of revaluing surplus fruits such as persimmon and by-products such as orange bagasse. The processing of this waste in the form of ingredients of interest to the food industry, the researcher points out, can represent an important advance in sustainability and the production of healthier foods.

The project will be carried out over the next three years and will have the support of 'La Vall de la Casella Coop. V', an organic production cooperative whose farms are mainly located in the areas of Alzira and Carcaixent. It also has the citizen participation of the Mediterranean Citizens Assembly Foundation (FACM), a network that promotes dialogue and citizen action; and the Mensa Cívica Association, a non-profit association focused on social food, territorial alliance and more diverse and sustainable food systems. Entities with which training and dissemination activities will be carried out.

'ReciclaSalud' is included in the line of action 'Guarantee of healthy, safe, sustainable and accessible food supply' of the Agroalnext-GVA program and is financed by the European Next Generation Funds.

This project was born within the framework of the Polisabio collaborative program between Fisabio and the UPV, through which a preliminary study was financed in 2018 to evaluate the effect of bioactive compounds from fruit by-products on the intestinal microbiota. The results were satisfactory and were part of a Final Degree Project presented in September 2019 and a research publication in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2020.