OPTIM'OILS aims a better knowledge & control of active micro-nutrients content in edible oils, in order to contribute to improving the nutritional status of citizen. Based on nutritional studies, it is proposed to demonstrate that lipidic micronutrients present in natural & synergistic forms in oleaginous seeds have a physiological interest in nutritional amounts, for prevention of CVD risk. Micronutrients of interest are i) molecules with antioxidant activity as: tocopherols & tocotrienols, flavonoids & phenolic compounds, Q10 Co-enzyme, & ii) unsaponifiable compounds as: phytosterols, phospholipids & glycolipids. Improvement of analysis & measuring methods will be necessary for defining micronutrient potential in seeds, crude & refined oils & fatty by/co-products.
Traditional oil processing will be optimised at seeds crushing & refining levels, in order to increase micronutrients pool, either by optimising unit operations parameters, or modifying process stages; or by valorising by-products in-situ. Integrated membrane process will be developed to treat & valorise effluents, residues & by-products from production of oils. OPTIM'OILS integrates an environmental dimension with an objective to minimize by-products generated in oil mill & refining plants & improve waste/effluent treatment & valorisation. Validation will be performed through production of optimised sunflower, rapeseed & soybean oils, that will be validated at a sensory, quality, stability & safety levels. <P>
Nutritional studies include intervention studies on animal models for bioavailability & dose-effects on oxidant stress & biomarkers of CVD risk. Cytotoxicity will be investigated ex vivo. Human cross-over dietary study will be performed to compare the best optimised versus traditional refined oil. OPTIM'OILS proposes a Food Reverse Engineering, including impact study of storage & some industrial/culinary food processes on active micronutrients level in oils: oxidation, crystalisation, emulsion.
<P>For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/159_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.