The proposed project aims at utilizing the beetles in the production and certification of high added value bioactive foods. Grape bunch are a by-product of wine-growing and are produced in large quantities as a by-product during the winemaking process.
Studies have shown that the grape bunch contains significant amounts of bioactive natural products, namely polyphenols. It is worth mentioning that the concentrations of specific polyphenolic compounds are much higher, depending on the variety, compared to wines and grapes, such as trans-resveratrol (140-270 mg / kg), catechin (820-21340 mg / Kg), procyanidin B3 (240-820 mg / Kg) and gallic acid (90-280 mg / Kg). Thus the grape bunch can be considered as a highly rich source of bioactive polyphenols. Furthermore, grape bunch exert significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which has been studied by many research teams worldwide including the group of the Animal Physiology Lab of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology of the University of Thessaly both in vitro and in human and animal studies.
The ultimate goal of the project is the integration of these bioactive ingredients into bread products in order to generate innovative bio-functional foods. This activity is of particular interest since a number of commercially successful products (mainly in the form of capsules) already exist in the market with a wide range of therapeutic properties ranging from improved bowel motility to reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Nonetheless, there are no bio-functional foods yet widely routinely consumed (e.g., bread
products) and aimed at improving human antioxidant defense and preventing the onset of diseases such as cardiovascular, degenerative diseases of the nervous system, cancer, etc. Thus, the potential products of this project are expected to show - apart from scientific - and particular commercial / business interest. Moreover, the sales of bio-functional foods have been increasing at a rate of 10% per annum due to the penetration of scientific research and innovation (which certainly exists in this project) in the market and the presence of health indications (diabetes in this case).
Regarding the partners of FUNCFOOD, it appears that their roles are complementary. Indeed, Kolyperas Winery produces large quantities of unused raw material (grape bunch), whereas Eatwalk is a dynamic and innovative company interested in the production of bio-functional foods. This proposal is based on previous findings of the University of Thessaly research team and its expertise that will partly be transferred to the research team of the University of Patras. Finally, this proposal is in accordance with the new
trends of the nutrition industries and follows consumers' requirements, which are based on their interest to consume foods with beneficial properties for their health
This proposed project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and National Resources (Ministry of Economy and Development, Ministry of Education, Research and Religions, under the Operational Program: Competitiveness-Entrepreneurship-Innovation