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“Pulp Fraction”: Tackling the orange waste mountain

During orange juice production only around a half of every orange is turned into juice. Lizah van der Aart and Blair Berger, both MSc-students at the IBL, and Ryan Bogaars from Delft University, received an NWO-scholarship to develop a novel method to extract natural products from orange residue.

Around 70 million tons of oranges are grown worldwide each year. During the production of orange juice it is estimated that up to 20 million tons of waste is produced mainly from the peel, pulp, seeds, orange leaves and fruits that do not meet quality standards. The orange residue consists of soluble sugars, cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectin, flavonoids and essential oils, which can be used to create a number of interesting products. Current methods to isolate these compounds are time-consuming and costly.

“Pulp Fraction”

Van der Aart, Berger and Bogaars are a step closer to solve the problem of the orange waste mountain using solvents found by Dr. Young Choi from the IBL and a so-called Upper Fluid Extraction (SFE) method at the TU Delft. The three students propose a new pectin extraction method in which flavonoids can be kept intact. Different flavonoids, like hesperidin, could provide a natural nutraceutical product from a currently underused raw material stream. The project was given the appropriate name of “Pulp Fraction”.

To be continued……

The students convinced the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) about the high potential of their method and received a scholarship of €27,000 to realize their project. In July they will start their work on this project and they expect to be done by the end of September.

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