This invention is an eco-friendly procedure that converts extracted olive pomace, a phytotoxic by-product, in an ecological product. By using a simple, low-cost and clean methodology it is possible to obtain a substrate for soilless culture applications and recovering bioactive compounds with high commercial/market value.
Over the last years, olive oil production drastically increased. Along with the growth of this agro-industry sector, high rate of residues, namely olive pomace (OP) is produced. OP has high phytotoxicity causing environmental problems if discarded without any treatment. Usually, olive oil processing units transfer and discharge OP in large open-air containers where it will be stored through long periods until further transformation in olive pomace oil (OPO) and a last final residue – extracted olive pomace (EOP).
The present invention relates to an economical and environmental sustainable process for EOP treatment aiming to eliminate its phytotoxicity while recovering bioactive compounds and reducing the areas needed for OP treatment. It implies minimal energy cost (using low temperature) and water as solvent. The main final products are i) a substrate for soilless culture, ii) an extract rich in bioactive compounds, essentially hydroxytyrosol for nutraceutical purposes, cosmetics and pharmaceutical purposes, and iii) water with high mineral content to watering crops.
Agro-industry; Olive oil processing industry; Market segments related with growing media production/distribution or hydroponics cultures; Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical and Cosmetic industries.