Innovative method for recovery and valorization of hydroxytyrosol from olive mill wastewaters

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The nutritional properties of olive oil can be attributed to its oleic acid and phenolic compounds content, acting as natural oxidants to prevent human diseases. In particular, hydroxytyrosol has an anti-inflammatory action similar to omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil. The olive oil production was conducted by two extraction procedures: first, a two-phase extraction giving extra-virgin olive oil and humid pomace, second, a three-phase working process of humid pomace, obtaining another minimum quantity of extra-virgin olive oil, ‘dry’ pomace devoid of polyphenols, and mill wastewaters rich in anti-oxidant compounds. The aim of this processing was to employ water to extract the highest concentration of polyphenols from humid pomace and convey them in oil mill wastewaters for extraction. Processed olives were 37,200 kg, pomace deprived of polyphenols was equal to 20,400 kg and processing was performed with 500 kg of olives per hour. This method offers advantages of using cheap equipment and technical simplicity.

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