Currently there is a drive towards the minimisation and reclamation of valuable materials from the waste products of the food and beverage industry. This can be achieved through the extraction of residual nutraceuticals from such materials. Tomato pomace contains carotenoids and other chemicals which can be extracted directly into edible oils to improve the health-giving properties of such oils. We report here a novel green solvent, fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE), which is significantly more effective than sunflower oil and hexane for the extraction of lycopene and beta-carotene from tomato skin waste. FAEE are a non-toxic renewable resource that is environmentally friendly and to our knowledge has never been used as a vegetal extraction fluid. The efficiency of FAEE extraction was significantly improved relative to both sunflower oil and hexane under ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) conditions. In addition, FAEE have the additional and significant advantage that once enriched with the extracted nutraceuticals can be used directly as a food additive.
Keywords: FAEE; UV-vis spectroscopy; beta-carotene; green solvent; green technique; lycopene; ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE).