Pomegranate Peel Extract: A Potential Antimicrobial Ingredient from Food Waste

Jenn Hoskins
29th June, 2024

Pomegranate Peel Extract: A Potential Antimicrobial Ingredient from Food Waste

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers in India found a way to preserve valuable compounds from pomegranate peel using a method called ionic gelation
  • This method achieved an 83.65% efficiency in encapsulating the compounds, better than traditional techniques
  • The encapsulated compounds showed strong antibacterial activity, suggesting they could replace synthetic antibiotics in food safety
Pomegranate peel waste is a rich source of bioactive compounds, particularly total hydrolysable tannins (THT), which have potential applications in food and pharmaceuticals. However, preserving these heat-sensitive compounds post-extraction is challenging. A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Technology Rourkela, India, explores the use of ionic gelation as a method to encapsulate and optimize the utilization of THT from pomegranate peel extract (PPE)[1]. In this study, the researchers employed external gelation to encapsulate PPE, optimizing the process variables using a Box-Behnken design. They found that at specific concentrations of sodium alginate (40 g kg-1), calcium chloride (25 g kg-1), and PPE (300 g kg-1), they achieved an encapsulation efficiency of 83.65%. This method was compared to spray drying, a conventional technique, and demonstrated superior performance in terms of release percentages and stability. The encapsulates produced through external gelation released 87.5% of their content within 30 minutes, compared to 69.7% in 25 minutes for the spray-dried counterparts. This indicates a more controlled and efficient release profile, which is crucial for applications requiring precise dosage and timing. The study also highlighted the antibacterial activity of the encapsulated PPE. When tested against Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923) in powdered infant formula, the encapsulated PPE exhibited a significant zone of inhibition (32 ± 0.01 mm) and a minimum inhibitory concentration of 300 μg mL-1. This antibacterial activity was comparable to that of synthetic antibiotics, suggesting that encapsulated PPE could serve as a natural alternative to synthetic antimicrobial agents in food preservation and safety. The findings from this study align with previous research highlighting the potential of fruit and vegetable waste peels as sources of bioactive compounds. For instance, a review emphasized the abundance of valuable molecules in waste peels and the various extraction techniques that can be employed to retrieve these compounds[2]. The current study's use of external gelation for encapsulation represents an advancement in these extraction techniques, offering a more efficient and stable method for utilizing these bioactive compounds. Moreover, the study's focus on the antibacterial properties of encapsulated PPE ties into concerns about microbial contamination in food products, such as powdered infant formula. Previous research has shown that microbial contamination in infant formula can lead to gastrointestinal infections, underscoring the need for effective antimicrobial agents[3]. The encapsulated PPE's robust antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus suggests that it could be a valuable addition to food safety protocols, providing a natural and effective means of reducing microbial contamination. Additionally, the potential applications of pomegranate peel and peel extract as food additives and functional food ingredients have been previously reviewed, highlighting their nutritional and health-promoting properties[4]. The current study builds on this foundation by demonstrating a practical method for preserving and utilizing these bioactive compounds, thereby enhancing their potential as food additives and nutraceuticals. In conclusion, the research conducted by the National Institute of Technology Rourkela demonstrates that external gelation is a potent technique for developing effective encapsulates enriched with natural antimicrobials. This method not only enhances the stability and efficacy of the bioactive compounds but also reduces reliance on synthetic antibiotics, offering promising applications in the food, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical industries.



Main Study

1) Encapsulated pomegranate peel extract as a potential antimicrobial ingredient from food waste.

Published 28th June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Recent advances in extraction technologies for recovery of bioactive compounds derived from fruit and vegetable waste peels: A review.


3) Contamination of bottles used for feeding reconstituted powdered infant formula and implications for public health.

Journal: Perspectives in public health, Issue: Vol 129, Issue 2, Mar 2009

4) Pomegranate peel and peel extracts: chemistry and food features.


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