"Green Chemistry" is based on the development of processes that eliminate or reduce the use of toxic substances and their release into the environment. Conventional organic solvents (SOC) are present in several steps in the chemical industry processes. Although they are commonly used for the extraction of organic compounds, such solvents generate environmental and social damages due to their toxicity, flammability, volatility and residual presence in the final product. New technologies aiming at sustainable alternatives for replacing SOCs have emerged, among them the development of so-called Deep Eutectic Solvents (SEP). These liquids have interesting characteristics for the most diverse purposes, including for the extraction of bioactive compounds. Anthocyanins are bioactive compounds used as a natural pigment in food industry, that also shows several beneficial effects on health due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. The dye industry for food colorants estimates market growth in the coming years, reaching $ 1.77 billion globally in 2021, with a trend of replacing artificial dyes by the natural ones. The SEPs have already been tested in anthocyanin extraction but still very strictly. Nevertheless, regarding the bioavailability of the anthocyanins in the blood plasma after ingestion, this may correspond to only 1% of the dose consumed, due to that, enhancement with lipid nanoparticles can be used to protect active biomolecules for a more homogenous release during digestion, aiding in the absorption of these compounds. The juçara (Euterpe edulis Mart.) Is a typical palm tree of the Atlantic Forest, rich in anthocyanins, that occupies a vast territorial extension, but the extractive exploitation of palm heart has led to the exhaustion of the species in the natural reserves. The sustainable use of Brazilian biodiversity has been pointed out as an important way to conserve this heritage, and the use of the fruit in pigment extraction is an alternative of great economic and environmental potential. Approaching these opportunities, this project aims to develop processes to obtain anthocyanins from the juçara pulp using the SEP, providing alternative and profitable exploration techniques of the juçara. After obtaining the pigments, nanoencapsulation applications and the development of hydrogel-type biotint for 3D printing of food will be developed, aiming to add value to the final product.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: