Conclusion and future trends

The wastes from fruit and vegetable processing mostly remain underex-ploited although there is a potential for bulk-scale accessible carbohydrates and phenolics. Extraction of valuable polysaccharides such as pectins, cellulose and arabinans, production of monomeric components (sugars, phe-nolics) and processing of dietary fibre, are up until now the main ways to upgrade these residues. New regulations, which will appear in the near future to protect our environment, as well as economic reasons for adding value to these wastes will stimulate the industry to minimise wastes and to find diversified applications for the components of wastes. Basic research on sugars and phenolics is necessary to explore new chemical and biochemical conversions using up-to-date (green) chemistry and progress in enzymology/biotechnology. Enzyme modification or bioconversion of polysaccharides and oligo-/monosaccharides or phenolics is important to produce more specific modifications in relation to the product properties.

More research, including genetic engeering, is also necessary to improve the capability of depolymerising enzymes to completely or selectively degrade cell-wall-rich wastes. These research efforts will bring progress in the use of these wastes, leading to large-scale production (for example, of ethanol); in addition, new products may emerge such as useful industrial intermediates, high-value chemicals, surfactants and cosmetics.

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