Development of a new olive oil product with augmented nutraceutical value through the valorisation of wastes from the agri-food industry.
VALE aims at developing and commercialising an olive oil with augmented nutraceutical value, an absolute innovation in the worldwide market, which often requires olive oils with high beneficial components content but without the strong typical taste of extra virgin oil.
The new oil is obtained dosing nutraceutical components (squalene and polyphenols) in refined olive oil, increasing its nutraceutical value without affecting organoleptic properties.
Squalene and polyphenols have been obtained from organic wastes from the oil production (olive oil pomace, olive leafs, refinery distillates) or from wine production (grape pomace), through processes designed and tested during the project.
Specific objectives of the project are:
- chemical, biochemical and organoleptic qualification of several formulations of the new oil;
- pilot-scale demonstration of production of nutraceutical components from agri-food wastes, according to the circular economy concept;
- integration of an existent industrial-scale oil refinery to maximise production of squalene from waste, with technologies in line with Industry 4.0 paradigm;
- realization of a prototype plant for the formulation of the new product;
- reengineering of the entire process with cost analysis and business plan for the large-scale commercialization of the new product.
VALE enables the production of high added-value olive-oil by recycling agri-food waste, perfectly fitting into the new European Action Plan for Circular Ec

Resources needed

Project cost: 2460 k€, 1002 k€ of Tuscany ERDF funding.
The leading proponent is SALOV, the edible oils production global leader, with three more private companies, Pisa food and agriculture University and CPTM private research centre for process industry.

Evidence of success

Achieved results:
• qualification of the new product by chemical and biochemical characterization and in vitro and in vivo testing
• automatization of the industrial refinery to maximize the recovery of squalene
• experimental demonstration of the efficient and economical production of nutraceutical components from agri-food wastes on a pilot scale
• upscaling design of the plants for the industrialization of the new product
• business plan for the global commercialization of the new produ

Difficulties encountered

• The new product have to meet both: high nutraceutical value and minimal modification of the original oil organoleptic properties.
• The storability of agri-food wastes is a key issue to make polyphenols recovery economically sustainable: different storing condition were studied experimentally.

Potential for learning or transfer

• Beneficial properties for human health of the assumption of squalene and selected polyphenols with olive oil: results of in vivo tests.
• Composition of polyphenolic compounds found in several agri-food wastes.
• Conservation of polyphenolic content of grape and oil pomace and of olive leafs through drying and freezing.
• Performance of extraction and purification processes of polyphenols from agri-food wastes.
• Performance of extraction and purification processes of squalene from oil refinery distillates.
Main institution
Tuscany region
Toscana, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
January 2018
End Date
January 2021


Massimiliano Di Mattia Please login to contact the author.