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Special Issue "Circular Economy: Agri-Food Byproducts as Source of Bioactive Compounds"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Domenico Trombetta
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences (CHIBIOFARAM), University of Messina, Via SS Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy
Interests: natural compounds; polyphenols; plant extracts; functional foods; nutraceuticals; pharmacology; toxicology; antioxidant activity; anti-inflammatory activity; cytoprotective activity; pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies; clinical studies
Dr. Antonella Smeriglio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences (CHIBIOFARAM), University of Messina, Via SS Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy
Interests: natural compounds; polyphenols; plant extracts; pharmacognosy; functional foods; nutraceuticals; pharmacology; toxicology; antioxidant activity; anti-inflammatory activity; cytoprotective activity; clinical studies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The journal Molecules will jointly be publishing a Special Issue on “Circular Economy: Agri-Food Byproducts as Source of Bioactive Compounds”.The aim is to re-valuate, in the circular economy context, agri-food byproducts, which when not processed further are discarded as waste. The amount of biomass produced is so large that industries have started to evaluate the appropriate re-use of these byproducts, not only to produce animal feed and biofuels but also as raw materials for the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and bio-pesticide industries.Considering this, manuscripts that investigate natural sources of secondary metabolites—such as essential oils (EOs), plant and food extracts obtained from agri-food byproducts such as spent materials (hulls, shells, peels, squeezing residues, seed residues, vegetation waters, etc.) and pruning waste—that offer new research perspectives on the utilization of these waste materials are welcome. Priority will be given to innovative manuscripts with multidisciplinary approaches that will allow the deepening of these themes of increasing interest for the industrial field. 

Prof. Dr. Domenico Trombetta
Dr. Antonella Smeriglio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agri-food byproducts
  • Plant extracts
  • Essential oils
  • Bioactive compounds
  • Health effects
  • Eco-sustainability

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
Valorization of Okara by Enzymatic Production of Anti-Fungal Compounds for Plant Protection
Molecules 2021, 26(16), 4858; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26164858 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 986
Abstract
Okara is a soybean transformation agri-food by-product, the massive production of which currently poses severe disposal issues. However, its composition is rich in seed storage proteins, which, once extracted, can represent an interesting source of bioactive peptides. Antimicrobial and antifungal proteins and peptides [...] Read more.
Okara is a soybean transformation agri-food by-product, the massive production of which currently poses severe disposal issues. However, its composition is rich in seed storage proteins, which, once extracted, can represent an interesting source of bioactive peptides. Antimicrobial and antifungal proteins and peptides have been described in plant seeds; thus, okara is a valuable source of compounds, exploitable for integrated pest management. The aim of this work is to describe a rapid and economic procedure to isolate proteins from okara, and to produce an enzymatic proteolyzed product, active against fungal plant pathogens. The procedure allowed the isolation and recovery of about 30% of okara total proteins. Several proteolytic enzymes were screened to identify the proper procedure to produce antifungal compounds. Antifungal activity of the protein digested for 24 h with pancreatin against Fusarium and R. solani mycelial growth and Pseudomonas spp was assessed. A dose-response inhibitory activity was established against fungi belonging to the Fusarium genus. The exploitation of okara to produce antifungal bioactive peptides has the potential to turn this by-product into a paradigmatic example of circular economy, since a field-derived food waste is transformed into a source of valuable compounds to be used in field crops protection. Full article
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Article
Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Platelet Properties of Lipid Bioactives from Apple Cider By-Products
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 2869; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26102869 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1240
Abstract
The valorization of food industry by-products as sources of bioactive compounds is at the forefront of research in functional foods and nutraceuticals. This study focuses on bioactives of apple cider by-products (ACBPs) with putative cardio-protective properties. Total lipids (TLs) were extracted from ACBPs [...] Read more.
The valorization of food industry by-products as sources of bioactive compounds is at the forefront of research in functional foods and nutraceuticals. This study focuses on bioactives of apple cider by-products (ACBPs) with putative cardio-protective properties. Total lipids (TLs) were extracted from ACBPs of apple varieties that are low (ACBP1), medium (ACBP2), and high (ACBP3) in tannins and were further separated into polar lipids (PLs) and neutral lipids (NLs). The functionality of these lipid extracts and of their HPLC-derived lipid fractions/PL subclasses were assessed in vitro against human platelet aggregation induced by the thrombotic and inflammatory platelet agonists platelet-activating factor (PAF) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The fatty acid profile of PLs and their most bioactive lipid fractions were evaluated by GC–MS analysis. The PL extracts exhibited higher specificity against the PAF-induced platelet aggregation compared to their anti-ADP effects, while TL and NL showed lower bioactivities in all ACBPs. HPLC analysis unveiled that the most bioactive PL from all ACBPs were those in PL fraction 3 containing phosphatidylcholines (PCs). PLs from all ACBPs and their PC bioactives were rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and especially in the essential omega-6 (n-6) linoleic acid (LA) and omega-3 (n-3) alpha linolenic acid (ALA), with favorably low values of the n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio, thus providing a rationale for their higher anti-inflammatory bioactivities. Within this study, highly bioactive PL compounds with strong anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet properties were identified in ACBPs, which can be potentially utilized for producing cardio-protective functional foods and/or nutraceuticals. Full article
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Communication
Ferulated Pectins and Ferulated Arabinoxylans Mixed Gel for Saccharomyces boulardii Entrapment in Electrosprayed Microbeads
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2478; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092478 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
Ferulated polysaccharides such as pectin and arabinoxylan form covalent gels which are attractive for drug delivery or cell immobilization. Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast known for providing humans with health benefits; however, its application is limited by viability loss under environmental stress. [...] Read more.
Ferulated polysaccharides such as pectin and arabinoxylan form covalent gels which are attractive for drug delivery or cell immobilization. Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast known for providing humans with health benefits; however, its application is limited by viability loss under environmental stress. In this study, ferulated pectin from sugar beet solid waste (SBWP) and ferulated arabinoxylan from maize bioethanol waste (AX) were used to form a covalent mixed gel, which was in turn used to entrap S. boulardii (2.08 × 108 cells/mL) in microbeads using electrospray. SBWP presented a low degree of esterification (30%), which allowed gelation through Ca2+, making it possible to reduce microbead aggregation and coalescence by curing the particles in a 2% CaCl2 cross-linking solution. SBWP/AX and SBWP/AX+ S. boulardii microbeads presented a diameter of 214 and 344 µm, respectively, and a covalent cross-linking content (dimers di-FA and trimer tri-FA of ferulic acid) of 1.15 mg/g polysaccharide. The 8-5′, 8-O-4′and 5-5′di-FA isomers proportions were 79%, 18%, and 3%, respectively. Confocal laser scanning microscopy images of propidium iodide-stained yeasts confirmed cell viability before and after microbeads preparation by electrospray. SBWP/AX capability to entrap S. boulardii would represent an alternative for probiotic immobilization in tailored biomaterials and an opportunity for sustainable waste upcycling to value-added products. Full article
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Article
Validation by Molecular Dynamics of the Major Components of Sugarcane Vinasse, On a Surface of Calcium Carbonate (Calcite)
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2353; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082353 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
There is ongoing interest in the alcohol industry to significantly reduce and/or add value to the liquid residue, vinasse, produced after the distillation and rectification of ethanol from sugar cane. Vinasse contains potassium, glycerol, and a protein component that can cause environmental issues [...] Read more.
There is ongoing interest in the alcohol industry to significantly reduce and/or add value to the liquid residue, vinasse, produced after the distillation and rectification of ethanol from sugar cane. Vinasse contains potassium, glycerol, and a protein component that can cause environmental issues if improperly disposed of. Currently, some industries have optimized their processes to reduce waste, and a significant proportion of vinasse is being considered for use as an additive in other industrial processes. In the manufacture of cement and asphalt, vinasse has been used in the mixtures at low concentrations, albeit with some physical and mechanical problems. This work is the first molecular approximation of the components of the sugar cane vinasse in an industrial context, and it provides atomic details of complex molecular events. In the current study, the major components of sugar cane vinasse, alone or complexed on the surface of calcium carbonate, were modeled and simulated using molecular dynamics. The results showed that the protein component, represented by the mannoprotein Mp1p, has a high affinity for forming hydrogen bonds with potassium and glycerol in the vinasse. Additionally, it provides atomic stability to the calcium carbonate surface, preserving the calcite crystalline structure in the same way potassium ions interact with the carbonate group through ion–dipole interactions to improve the cohesion of the modeled surface. On the contrary, when the glycerol molecule interacts with calcium carbonate using more than two hydrogen bonds, it triggers the breakdown of the crystalline structure of calcite expanding the ionic pair. Full article
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Article
Extraction of Tropical Fruit Peels and Development of HPMC Film Containing the Extracts as an Active Antibacterial Packaging Material
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2265; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082265 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 917
Abstract
In recent years, instead of the use of chemical substances, alternative substances, especially plant extracts, have been characterized for an active packaging of antibacterial elements. In this study, the peels of mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), and mango [...] Read more.
In recent years, instead of the use of chemical substances, alternative substances, especially plant extracts, have been characterized for an active packaging of antibacterial elements. In this study, the peels of mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), and mango (Mangifera indica) were extracted to obtain bioactive compound by microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) and maceration with water, ethanol 95% and water–ethanol (40:60%). All extracts contained phenolics and flavonoids. However, mangosteen peel extracted by MAE and maceration with water/ethanol (MT-MAE-W/E and MT-Ma-W/E, respectively) contained higher phenolic and flavonoid contents, and exhibited greater antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Thus, both extracts were analyzed by liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer (LC-MS) analysis, α-mangostin conferring antibacterial property was found in both extracts. The MT-MAE-W/E and MT-Ma-W/E films exhibited 30.22 ± 2.14 and 30.60 ± 2.83 mm of growth inhibition zones against S. aureus and 26.50 ± 1.60 and 26.93 ± 3.92 mm of growth inhibition zones against E. coli. These clear zones were wider than its crude extract approximately 3 times, possibly because the film formulation enhanced antibacterial activity with sustained release of active compound. Thus, the mangosteen extracts have potential to be used as an antibacterial compound in active packaging. Full article
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Article
Mentha pulegium L.: A Plant Underestimated for Its Toxicity to Be Recovered from the Perspective of the Circular Economy
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2154; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082154 - 08 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
The aim of the study was to investigate the micromorphology of Mentha pulegium leaves and flowers harvested in three different Sicilian (Italy) areas with peculiar pedo-climatic conditions, and to characterize the phytochemical profile, the phytotoxic activity, and the eco-compatibility of their essential oils [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to investigate the micromorphology of Mentha pulegium leaves and flowers harvested in three different Sicilian (Italy) areas with peculiar pedo-climatic conditions, and to characterize the phytochemical profile, the phytotoxic activity, and the eco-compatibility of their essential oils (EOs) for potential use as safe bioherbicides. Light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) highlighted that M. pulegium indumentum consists of non-glandular and glandular trichomes of different types. Peltate trichomes of plants from the different sites showed few significant differences in dimension and abundance, but they were characterized by a surprisingly high number of secretory cells both in leaves and flowers. Phytochemical analyses showed that oxygenated monoterpenes were the most abundant class in all the EOs investigated (92.2–97.7%), but two different chemotypes, pulegone/isomenthone and piperitone/isomenthone, were found. The complex of morphological and phytochemical data indicates that soil salinity strongly affects the expression of the toxic metabolite pulegone, rather than the EO yield. Phytotoxicity tests showed a moderate activity of EOs against the selected species as confirmed by α-amylase assay. Moreover, the low toxicity on brine shrimp provided a rationale for the possible use of investigated EOs as eco-friendly herbicides. Full article
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Article
Physicochemical, Thermal and Rheological Properties of Pectin Extracted from Sugar Beet Pulp Using Subcritical Water Extraction Process
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1413; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051413 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
The objective of this study was to characterize the properties of pectin extracted from sugar beet pulp using subcritical water (SWE) as compared to conventional extraction (CE). The research involved advanced modeling using response surface methodology and optimization of operational parameters. The optimal [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to characterize the properties of pectin extracted from sugar beet pulp using subcritical water (SWE) as compared to conventional extraction (CE). The research involved advanced modeling using response surface methodology and optimization of operational parameters. The optimal conditions for maximum yield of pectin for SWE and CE methods were determined by the central composite design. The optimum conditions of CE were the temperature of 90 °C, time of 240 min, pH of 1, and pectin recovery yield of 20.8%. The optimal SWE conditions were liquid-to-solid (L/S) ratio of 30% (v/w) at temperature of 130 °C for 20 min, which resulted in a comparable yield of 20.7%. The effect of obtained pectins on viscoamylograph pasting and DSC thermal parameters of corn starch was evaluated. The contents of galacturonic acid, degree of methylation, acetylation, and ferulic acid content were higher in the pectin extracted by SWE, while the molecular weight was lower. Similar chemical groups were characterized by FTIR in both SWE and CE pectins. Color attributes of both pectins were similar. Solutions of pectins at lower concentrations displayed nearly Newtonian behavior. The addition of both pectins to corn starch decreased pasting and DSC gelatinization parameters, but increased ΔH. The results offered a promising scalable approach to convert the beet waste to pectin as a value-added product using SWE with improved pectin properties. Full article
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Article
Contents of Functionally Bioactive Peptides, Free Amino Acids, and Biogenic Amines in Dutch-Type Cheese Models Produced with Different Lactobacilli
Molecules 2020, 25(22), 5465; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25225465 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 741
Abstract
Cheese ripening involves a number of biochemical processes, mainly of a proteolytic nature, which are initially triggered principally by milk-coagulating enzymes and, afterward, by microorganisms or enzymes of microbial origin. The proteolytic reactions affect, primarily, the synthesis of macro- and medium-molecular peptides from [...] Read more.
Cheese ripening involves a number of biochemical processes, mainly of a proteolytic nature, which are initially triggered principally by milk-coagulating enzymes and, afterward, by microorganisms or enzymes of microbial origin. The proteolytic reactions affect, primarily, the synthesis of macro- and medium-molecular peptides from casein. In turn, the advanced proteolysis ends in the formation of short peptides and free amino acids. Further reactions may lead to the formation of nutritionally unfavorable biogenic amines. The present study aimed to determine changes in the contents of bioactive peptides (anserine and L-carnosine), free amino acids, and biogenic amines throughout the ripening of cheese models produced with the addition of Lactobacillus genus bacteria. The contents of amino acids varied considerably in the cheese models, depending on the bacterial strain added and ripening time. After five weeks of ripening, the total content of free amino acids in the cheese models ranged from 611.02 (a cheese model with Lactobacillus casei 2639) to 1596.64 mg kg−1 (a cheese model with Lb. acidophilus 2499). After the same time, the contents of the total biogenic amines in the cheese models with the addition of lactobacilli were lower than in the control cheese model (except for the model with Lb. rhamnosus 489). Anserine was detected in all cheese models (79.29–119.02 mg kg−1), whereas no L-carnosine was found over a five-week ripening period in the cheese models with Lb. delbrueckii 490 and Lb. casei 2639. After a five-week ripening, the highest total content of bioactive peptides was determined in the cheese models containing Lb. acidophilus 2499 (136.11 mg kg−1). Full article
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Article
Assessment of Techno-Functional and Nutraceutical Potential of Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Seed Meal
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4235; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184235 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a widely consumed fruit all around the world. The industrial exploitation of tomato generates a lot of waste. Most of the utilization of tomato seeds waste is focused on animal feeding, as well as a food ingredient [...] Read more.
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a widely consumed fruit all around the world. The industrial exploitation of tomato generates a lot of waste. Most of the utilization of tomato seeds waste is focused on animal feeding, as well as a food ingredient aimed to increase the protein content, and raw material for some organic bioactive component extraction. The aim of this work was to evaluate the techno-functional properties of tomato seed meal (TSM) and its nutraceutical properties after applying defatting processing (TSMD), and to evaluate the nutraceutical properties after a fermentation processing (TSMDF) by Lactobacillus sp. The results showed that, at alkaline conditions (pH 8–9), the techno-functional properties for TSM and TSMD improved. In comparison with TSM, TSMD showed higher water holding capacity (WHC ≈32%), higher oil holding capacity (OHC ≈13%), higher protein solubility (49–58%), more than 10 times foaming activity (FA), more than 50 times foam stability (Fst), as well as an improved emulsifying activity (EA) and emulsion stability (Est) wich were better at pH 9. Regarding the nutraceutical properties, after 48 h of fermentation (TSMDF), the antioxidant activity was doubled and a significant increase in the iron chelating activity was also observed. During the same fermentation time, the highest angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition (ACEI) was achieved (IC50 73.6 μg/mL), more than 10 times higher than TSMD, which leads to suggest that this fermented medium may be a powerful antihypertensive. Therefore, the strategy proposed in this study could be an option for the exploitation of tomato wastes. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Second Life of Citrus Fruit Waste: A Valuable Source of Bioactive Compounds
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 5991; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26195991 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
Citrus fruits (CF) are among the most widely cultivated fruit crops throughout the world and their production is constantly increasing along with consumers’ demand. Therefore, huge amounts of waste are annually generated through CF processing, causing high costs for their disposal, as well [...] Read more.
Citrus fruits (CF) are among the most widely cultivated fruit crops throughout the world and their production is constantly increasing along with consumers’ demand. Therefore, huge amounts of waste are annually generated through CF processing, causing high costs for their disposal, as well as environmental and human health damage, if inappropriately performed. According to the most recent indications of an economic, environmental and pharmaceutical nature, CF processing residues must be transformed from a waste to be disposed to a valuable resource to be reused. Based on a circular economy model, CF residues (i.e., seeds, exhausted peel, pressed pulp, secondary juice and leaves) have increasingly been re-evaluated to also obtain, but not limited to, valuable compounds to be employed in the food, packaging, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. However, the use of CF by-products is still limited because of their underestimated nutritional and economic value, hence more awareness and knowledge are needed to overcome traditional approaches for their disposal. This review summarizes recent evidence on the pharmacological potential of CF waste to support the switch towards a more environmentally sustainable society. Full article
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Review
Olive Trees By-Products as Sources of Bioactive and Other Industrially Useful Compounds: A Systematic Review
Molecules 2021, 26(16), 5081; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26165081 - 22 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 622
Abstract
The need to produce an ever-increasing quantity of material products and food resulting from the planet globalization process has contributed to the spread of modern agriculture based on a linear production resulting in the generation of tons of waste. This huge amount of [...] Read more.
The need to produce an ever-increasing quantity of material products and food resulting from the planet globalization process has contributed to the spread of modern agriculture based on a linear production resulting in the generation of tons of waste. This huge amount of waste is generally accumulated in landfills, causing different environmental problems. Hence, researchers moved on to study the processes used to recover agro-industrial by-products within a circular and sustainable bio-economy concept. A systematic quest on Scopus and PubMed databases was performed to identify the data available to date on recycling agro-industrial by-products of Olea europaea L. This systematic review summarizes the knowledge regarding the use of olive trees by-products for producing animal feed, biocomposites, bioethanol, cellulose pulp, activated carbon, and as a fuel source for energy production. Furthermore, the data regarding the potential biological activity of extracts from olive roots, wood, bark, and pruning were analyzed. Olive trees by-products are, indeed, rich in molecules with antioxidant, antimicrobial, cardioprotective, and anticancer activity, representing a promising candidate for treat several human diseases. Full article
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Review
The Potential of Selected Agri-Food Loss and Waste to Contribute to a Circular Economy: Applications in the Food, Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Industries
Molecules 2021, 26(2), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26020515 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3002
Abstract
The food sector includes several large industries such as canned food, pasta, flour, frozen products, and beverages. Those industries transform agricultural raw materials into added-value products. The fruit and vegetable industry is the largest and fastest-growing segment of the world agricultural production market, [...] Read more.
The food sector includes several large industries such as canned food, pasta, flour, frozen products, and beverages. Those industries transform agricultural raw materials into added-value products. The fruit and vegetable industry is the largest and fastest-growing segment of the world agricultural production market, which commercialize various products such as juices, jams, and dehydrated products, followed by the cereal industry products such as chocolate, beer, and vegetable oils are produced. Similarly, the root and tuber industry produces flours and starches essential for the daily diet due to their high carbohydrate content. However, the processing of these foods generates a large amount of waste several times improperly disposed of in landfills. Due to the increase in the world’s population, the indiscriminate use of natural resources generates waste and food supply limitations due to the scarcity of resources, increasing hunger worldwide. The circular economy offers various tools for raising awareness for the recovery of waste, one of the best alternatives to mitigate the excessive consumption of raw materials and reduce waste. The loss and waste of food as a raw material offers bioactive compounds, enzymes, and nutrients that add value to the food cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. This paper systematically reviewed literature with different food loss and waste by-products as animal feed, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products that strongly contribute to the paradigm shift to a circular economy. Additionally, this review compiles studies related to the integral recovery of by-products from the processing of fruits, vegetables, tubers, cereals, and legumes from the food industry, with the potential in SARS-CoV-2 disease and bacterial diseases treatment. Full article
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Review
Plant Secondary Metabolites: An Opportunity for Circular Economy
Molecules 2021, 26(2), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26020495 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1902
Abstract
Moving toward a more sustainable development, a pivotal role is played by circular economy and a smarter waste management. Industrial wastes from plants offer a wide spectrum of possibilities for their valorization, still being enriched in high added-value molecules, such as secondary metabolites [...] Read more.
Moving toward a more sustainable development, a pivotal role is played by circular economy and a smarter waste management. Industrial wastes from plants offer a wide spectrum of possibilities for their valorization, still being enriched in high added-value molecules, such as secondary metabolites (SMs). The current review provides an overview of the most common SM classes (chemical structures, classification, biological activities) present in different plant waste/by-products and their potential use in various fields. A bibliographic survey was carried out, taking into account 99 research articles (from 2006 to 2020), summarizing all the information about waste type, its plant source, industrial sector of provenience, contained SMs, reported bioactivities, and proposals for its valorization. This survey highlighted that a great deal of the current publications are focused on the exploitation of plant wastes in human healthcare and food (including cosmetic, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food additives). However, as summarized in this review, plant SMs also possess an enormous potential for further uses. Accordingly, an increasing number of investigations on neglected plant matrices and their use in areas such as veterinary science or agriculture are expected, considering also the need to implement “greener” practices in the latter sector. Full article
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Review
Prebiotic Impacts of Soybean Residue (Okara) on Eubiosis/Dysbiosis Condition of the Gut and the Possible Effects on Liver and Kidney Functions
Molecules 2021, 26(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26020326 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1339
Abstract
Okara is a white-yellow fibrous residue consisting of the insoluble fraction of the soybean seeds remaining after extraction of the aqueous fraction during the production of tofu and soymilk, and is generally considered a waste product. It is packed with a significant number [...] Read more.
Okara is a white-yellow fibrous residue consisting of the insoluble fraction of the soybean seeds remaining after extraction of the aqueous fraction during the production of tofu and soymilk, and is generally considered a waste product. It is packed with a significant number of proteins, isoflavones, soluble and insoluble fibers, soyasaponins, and other mineral elements, which are all attributed with health merits. With the increasing production of soy beverages, huge quantities of this by-product are produced annually, which poses significant disposal problems and financial issues for producers. Extensive studies have been done on the biological activities, nutritional values, and chemical composition of okara as well as its potential utilization. Owing to its peculiar rich fiber composition and low cost of production, okara might be potentially useful in the food industry as a functional ingredient or good raw material and could be used as a dietary supplement to prevent varied ailments such as prevention of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, obesity, as well as to stimulate the growth of intestinal microbes and production of microbe-derived metabolites (xenometabolites), since gut dysbiosis (imbalanced microbiota) has been implicated in the progression of several complex diseases. This review seeks to compile scientific research on the bioactive compounds in soybean residue (okara) and discuss the possible prebiotic impact of this fiber-rich residue as a functional diet on eubiosis/dysbiosis condition of the gut, as well as the consequential influence on liver and kidney functions, to facilitate a detailed knowledge base for further exploration, implementation, and development. Full article
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Other

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Perspective
Fruit Wastes as a Valuable Source of Value-Added Compounds: A Collaborative Perspective
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6338; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26216338 - 20 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 576
Abstract
The by-products/wastes from agro-food and in particular the fruit industry represents from one side an issue since they cannot be disposed as such for their impact on the environment but they need to be treated as a waste. However, on the other side, [...] Read more.
The by-products/wastes from agro-food and in particular the fruit industry represents from one side an issue since they cannot be disposed as such for their impact on the environment but they need to be treated as a waste. However, on the other side, they are a source of bioactive healthy useful compounds which can be recovered and be the starting material for other products in the view of sustainability and a circular economy addressing the global goal of “zero waste” in the environment. An updated view of the state of art of the research on fruit wastes is here given under this perspective. The topic is defined as follows: (i) literature quantitative analysis of fruit waste/by-products, with particular regards to linkage with health; (ii) an updated view of conventional and innovative extraction procedures; (iii) high-value added compounds obtained from fruit waste and associated biological properties; (iv) fruit wastes presence and relevance in updated databases. Nowadays, the investigation of the main components and related bioactivities of fruit wastes is being continuously explored throughout integrated and multidisciplinary approaches towards the exploitation of emerging fields of application which may allow to create economic, environmental, and social value in the design of an eco-friendly approach of the fruit wastes. Full article
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