The main objective of this study was to increase the economic value of broccoli green agro-waste using three wet fractionation methods in the shadow of green biorefinery and the circular economy. Product candidates were obtained directly by using a mechanical press, and indirectly by using microwave coagulation or via lactic acid fermentation of green juice. The leaf protein concentrates (LPC) fractions displayed significantly higher dry matter content and crude protein content (34-39 m/m% on average) than the green juice fraction (27.4 m/m% on average), without considerable changes in the amino acids composition ratio. UHPLC-ESI-ORBITRAP-MS/MS analysis showed that kaemferol and quercetin are the most abundant flavonols, forming complexes with glycosides and hydroxycinnamic acids in green juice. Lacto-ermentation induced a considerable increase in the quantity of quercetin (48.75 μg·g-1 dry weight) and kaempferol aglycons (895.26 μg·g-1 dry weight) of LPC. In contrast, chlorogenic acid isomers and sulforaphane disappeared from LPC after lactic acid fermentation, while microwave treatment did not cause significant differences. These results confirm that both microwave treatment and lacto-fermentation coagulate and concentrate most of the soluble proteins. Also, these two processes affect the amount of valuable phytochemicals differently, so it should be considered when setting the goals.
Keywords: agro-waste; broccoli; brown juice; lacto-fermentation; leaf protein concentrate; microwave coagulation; phytochemicals; protein.