Michel Verheul

Research Scientist

(+47) 934 08 525
michel.verheul@nibio.no

Place
Særheim

Visiting address
Postvegen 213, NO-4353 Klepp stasjon

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Abstract

There is a large potential in Europe for valorization in the vegetable food supply chain. For example, there is occasionally overproduction of tomatoes for fresh consumption, and a fraction of the production is unsuited for fresh consumption sale (unacceptable color, shape, maturity, lesions, etc.). In countries where the facilities and infrastructure for tomato processing is lacking, these tomatoes are normally destroyed, used as landfilling or animal feed, and represent an economic loss for producers and negative environmental impact. Likewise, there is also a potential in the tomato processing industry to valorize side streams and reduce waste. The present paper provides an overview of tomato production in Europe and the strategies employed for processing and valorization of tomato side streams and waste fractions. Special emphasis is put on the four tomato-producing countries Norway, Belgium, Poland, and Turkey. These countries are very different regards for example their climatic preconditions for tomato production and volumes produced, and represent the extremes among European tomato producing countries. Postharvest treatments and applications for optimized harvest time and improved storage for premium raw material quality are discussed, as well as novel, sustainable processing technologies for minimum waste and side stream valorization. Preservation and enrichment of lycopene, the primary health promoting agent and sales argument, is reviewed in detail. The European volume of tomato postharvest wastage is estimated at >3 million metric tons per year. Together, the optimization of harvesting time and preprocessing storage conditions and sustainable food processing technologies, coupled with stabilization and valorization of processing by-products and side streams, can significantly contribute to the valorization of this underutilized biomass.

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Abstract

Non-destructive tools for evaluating the lycopene content in tomatoes are of great interest to the entire fruit chain because of an increasing demand for beneficial health products. With the aim of developing compact low-cost reflectance sensors for lycopene determination, we compared Partial Least Squares (PLS) prediction models by using either directional or total reflectance in the 500–750 nm range. Directional reflectance at 45° with respect to the LED lighting direction was acquired by means of a compact spectrometer sensor. Total reflectance was acquired through a 50-mm integrating sphere connected to a spectrometer. The analysis was conducted on two hydroponic greenhouse cultivated red tomato varieties, namely the large round ‘Dometica’ (average diameter: 57 mm) and the small cherry ‘Juanita’ (average diameter: 26 mm). For both varieties, the spectral variance of directional reflectance was well correlated to that of total reflectance. The performances of the PLS prediction models were also similar, with R2 of cross-validation between 0.73 and 0.81. The prediction error, relative to the mean lycopene content of full ripe tomatoes, was similar: i.e. around 16–17% for both varieties and sensors. Our results showed that directional reflectance measured by means of portable, low-cost and compact LED-based sensors can be used with an adequate precision for the non-destructive assessment of lycopene in tomatoes.

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Abstract

Lunch canteens and their salad bars are an important arena for sales and consumption of vegetables including herbs. One major Norwegian canteen operator had a turnover of more than seven thousand tons of fresh vegetables in 2016, with lettuce, tomato, potato, cucumber and bell pepper being the most important species. A typical lunch meal included about 260 g vegetables including potatoes. Vegetables used in 450 canteens were either green, yellow, orange, red, purple/dark or colorless, and consisted of pigments of chlorophylls, carotenoids, anthocyanins and betalains. The total pigment content in the 60 most abundant vegetables was calculated to be 14.5-28.3 mg 100 g-1 FW. Of all vegetables in the canteens, 60% were found to be green. The intake of chlorophyll through one lunch meal was estimated to be 46 mg. Lettuce was found to be the single most important source of chlorophylls as this species was consumed in high amounts and made up 20% of the vegetables in a lunch meal. Carotenoids was found in all colored vegetables except the purple/dark ones and an estimate revealed an intake of 15 mg total carotenoids from lunch vegetables. Tomato was found to be the most important carotenoid source representing 44% of the total intake. Due to high pigment concentrations and popularity of red beets in the salad bars, the intake of betalains through a lunch meal was estimated to be 3 mg, similar to the total intake of anthocyanins from vegetable species.

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Abstract

The project “Sustainable food production through quality optimized raw-material production and processing technologies for premium quality vegetable products and generated by-products” [SUNNIVA] aimed at the development of a sustainable food system from production to consumption, addressing the entire food supply chain for the vegetables tomato and Brassicae. The goal was better utilisation of the vegetable raw materials, reduced energy and water consumption, higher profitability and healthier food. This was achieved by providing various valorisation strategies to reduce waste and limiting environmental impact. Preservation of the intrinsic health-beneficial phytochemicals present in the raw material in order to improve the nutritional properties of vegetable food products was central in the project. The project contained optimization of harvest time and pre-processing storage conditions, development of novel mild processing design based on modelling, and a two-track valorisation strategy. SUNNIVA has demonstrated how the various residual raw materials can be exploited to the full: Either directly for sustainable production of healthy food (as a refined product or an ingredient), or indirectly by bringing it back into the food chain (as organic fertilizers and soil amendment products) in order to generate renewed primary production with minimal environmental impact.

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Abstract

The SUNNIVA project aims to increase the overall sustainability of vegetable processing by providing valorisation strategies to reduce waste and limiting environmental impact, while improving the nutritional properties of vegetable food products. Results obtained during the first project year indicate that; (i) The waste and by-product fractions of cabbage, tomato and black salsify have a great potential to be better utilized in the food processing chain and to serve as valuable sources for health beneficial phytochemicals (HBPC), and (ii) that tomato and grape seed press cakes have an interesting plant nutritional (NPK) profile, which makes them suitable candidates as raw material in soil amendments. Further, raw materials from tomato and cabbage, in terms of cultivars and morphological parts, has been assessed for HBPC and nutritional value as an effect of N-fertilization and processing. Experimental data for deriving numerical thermal models for agitated and static retort are obtained. Mapping of the most important underutilized vegetable biomass streams in partnering countries are under way. The development of non-destructive tools for rapid HBPC measurements in cabbage and tomato is promising, but some more calibration/validation of the method is necessary. One year into the 3-year project, we conclude that progress has been satisfactory.

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Abstract

Tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum, cv. Suzanne) were subjected to complete nutrient solution or a solution without nitrogen (N), and placed at different temperatures and light conditions to test the effects of environment on flavonoids and caffeoyl derivatives and related gene expression. N depletion during 4-8 days resulted in enhanced levels of flavonoids and caffeoyl derivatives. Anthocyanins showed pronounced increased levels when lowering the growth temperature from 24 degrees C to 18 degrees C or 12 degrees C. Flavonol levels increased when the light intensity was increased from 100 mu mol m(-2) s(-1) to 200 mu mol m(-2) s(-1) PAR. Synergistic effects of the various environmental factors were observed. The increase in content of quercetin derivatives in response to low temperatures was only found under conditions of N depletion, and especially at the higher light intensity. Expression of structural genes in the phenylpropanoid and flavonoid pathways, PAL (phenylalanine ammonia lyase), CHS (chalcone synthase), F3H (flavanone 3-hydroxylase), and FLS (flavonol synthase) increased in response to N depletion, in agreement with a corresponding increase in flavonoid and caffeoyl content. Expression of these structural genes generally also increased in response to lower temperatures. As indicated through expression studies and correlation analysis, effects of N depletion were apparently mediated through the overall regulators of the pathway the MYB transcription factor ANT1 (ANTHOCYANIN 1) and SlJAF13 (a bHLH transcription factor orthologue of petunia JAF13 and maize RED genes). A PAL gene (PAL6) was identified, and correlation analysis was compatible with PAL6 being an actively expressed gene with function in flavonoid synthesis. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Abstract

The flavonoid pathway is known to be up-regulated by different environmental stress factors. Down-regulation of the pathway is much less studied and is emphasized in the present work. Flavonoid accumulation was induced by exposing plants for 1 week to nitrogen depletion at 10 degrees C, giving high levels of anthocyanins and 3-glucoside-7-rhamnosides, 3,7-di-rhamnosides and 3-rutinoside-7-rhamnosides of kaempferol and quercetin. Flavonol accumulation as influenced by temperatures and nitrogen supply was not related to the glycosylation patterns but to the classification as quercetin and kaempferol. When nitrogen was re-supplied, transcripts for main regulators of the pathway, PAP1/GL3 and PAP2/MYB12, fell to less than 1 and 0.1% of initial values, respectively, during 24 h in the 15-30 degrees C temperature range. Anthocyanins showed a half-life of approximately 1 d, while the degradation of flavonols was much slower. Interestingly, the initial fluxes of anthocyanin and flavonol degradations were found to be temperature-independent. A kinetic model for the flavonoid pathway was constructed. In order to get the observed concentration-temperature profiles as well as the temperature compensation in the flavonoid degradation flux, the model predicts that the flavonoid pathway shows an increased temperature sensitivity at the end of the pathway, where the up-regulation by PAP/GL3 has been found to be largest.