Olive peel
Olive leaves

BioPowder is a specialist supplier of fresh and dry powders made from olive leaves and olive peel. Both products are valuable by-products from the olive growing and olive oil industry, and upcycled into raw materials for extracts of antioxidant and/or antimicrobial substances.

Olive leaves

Olive trees regularly undergo trimming to remove unproductive branches. This is to make sure the sap circulates well, which ensures optimal health of the tree and growth of the olives. Olive trees are chopped down very rarely, and it mostly happens when they are unhealthy or unproductive. Hence, trimming is practically the only way of harvesting olive leaves sustainably. Trimming mostly takes place after the harvesting season of the olive, which is during springtime in the Mediterranean region. The leaves are removed either manually or with the help of specialized machines / saws / clippers. To ensure a satisfactory content of oleuropein and other polyphenols, the olive leaves should be harvested while green and hydrated. In order to pulverize or micronize them, gentle drying helps remove excess moisture and ensure particle and chemical stability. In some instances, olive leaves can also be used as a raw material for extraction of polyphenolic compounds in a raw state. At BioPowder, we provide both raw and micronized olive leaves. Our material is 100 % by-product-based, natural and does not contain any synthetic additives.

Olive peel

Olive peel is obtained in the transformation process of the olive oil by-products. Pressing the olive in the oil mill produces a solid paste (raw olive cake) consisting of crushed peel, pulp and olive stone. The olive stone fragments are separated by means of centrifugation. The remaining paste often undergoes another de-oiling process – sometimes using solvents such as hexane – which involves drying, i.e. removal of excess moisture. As a result, the fragmented peel can be easily obtained by means of weight-based (densimetric) classification. At BioPowder, we recover olive peel exclusively from mechanically de-oiled by-products. The result is an elastic, dry light-weight material with good storage stability and a high content of bioactive compounds. Olive peel can either be supplied as-is or as a fine micronized powder.

Benefits of olive peel and olive leaf (extract)

Olive leaves and olive peel offer diverse benefits due to their rich nutrient and bioactive compound content. The ingredients relevant for extraction are mainly polyphenols. The following overview sheds light on the key benefits of olive leaf and olive peel:

  1. Antioxidant properties:
    Phenolic compounds such as maslinic acid, oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol help neutralize free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
     
  2. Anti-inflammatory effects:
    The above phenolic compounds in olive peel and olive leaves also exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and relieve conditions like arthritis and cardiovascular diseases.
     
  3. Antimicrobial activity:
    Olive peel and olive leaf extracts have demonstrated antimicrobial properties against various bacteria and fungi. This makes them potentially useful in preserving food and enhancing food safety. Also, they can boost the antimicrobial properties of diverse biobased materials such as bioplastic composites.
     
  4. Nutritional value:
    Olive peel powder is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins (such as vitamin E), and minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium). These nutrients contribute to overall health and can support various bodily functions.
     
  5. Cardiovascular health:
    The polyphenolic compounds found in olive peel and olive leaves can help improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, improving lipid profiles, and preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
     
  6. Anti-cancer potential:
    Some studies suggest that the bioactive compounds in olive peel and olive leaves may have anti-cancer properties, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in certain types of cancer.
     
  7. Skin health:
    Olive peel, olive leaves and/or the extracted antioxidants can protect the skin from damage and reduce the effects of aging.
     
  8. Digestive health:
    The dietary fiber in olive peel aids in digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Fiber also supports a healthy gut microbiome.

Recommended applications of olive peel and olive leaf (extract)

Food and food supplements

Due to the above properties, olive extracts can play numerous functions in foodstuffs and food supplements. They can act as a source of dietary fibre, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, adding to the nutritional profile of diverse solid and liquid foods. The trend towards so-called health- and superfoods is likely to incite more food manufacturers to enrich their products with olive extracts. Moreover, bioactive olive compounds are sought-after active substances for food supplements and pharmaceuticals. The easy handling and storage stability of dry, pulverized olive peel and olive leaves facilitates incorporation into solid and semi-liquid foods.

Animal and fish feed

Conscious consumers of meat are increasingly concerned about animal nutrition and the absence of harmful chemicals in the meat. Therefore, feed manufacturers are embracing the trend towards plant-based feed ingredients with a balanced nutritional profile. Just as human health, animal health is a priority in sustainable agriculture and throughout the food chain. Olive extracts have similar effects on animals and humans, which is why they are used to enriching feed for improved animal health. In times of industrialized agriculture, the feed industry has seen a shift towards high-energy foods made from grain. Proteins are often derived from soy, fish meal and by-products from the meat processing industry. Only recently, and thanks to growing consumer awareness, the industry has started adopting higher health, quality and sustainability standards.  In pet food, there is an even more pronounced demand for healthy quality ingredients. Pet owners are opting for organic options and often choose to supplement their pets’ diet in a similar way as their own.  

Personal care

Olive extracts derived from olive peel or leaves are excellent active cosmetic ingredients. As a source of antioxidants and antimicrobials, they can boost skin health and add measurable anti-aging effects to face and body care products. Either as a raw material for further extraction or distillation or as a powder, the material offers different possibilities for use in cremes, balms and even decorative cosmetics. Besides the active principles, olive leaf powder can act as a natural (green) pigment, a soft exfoliant or a sensory modifier / rheology agent.

Material science

Similar to food and cosmetic products, biobased materials are often enriched with antioxidants to boost their durability and lifespan. Especially plastic composites such as packaging films or technical parts (e.g. automotive components, protective coatings, etc.) can quickly decay when exposed to UV radiation or chemicals. Adding olive polyphenolics can counter or delay this effect by capturing free radicals. Antimicrobial compounds derived from olive by-products can prevent degradation of materials in case of microbial presence.

Sustainability benefits and reduced carbon footprint of olive peel and leaves

All raw materials and ingredients processed by BioPowder are derived from agricultural by-products. We collect leftovers of the oil production at the source and treat them exclusively by mechanical means. The upcycling streams to obtain olive leaves and olive peel help reduce agricultural waste and further minimize the environmental impact of the olive oil production. While olive leaves obtained from trimming and olive peel leftovers do not compete with any food chain, they can become a basis for novel foods and supplements. 

Our regional, resource-saving processes ensure very reduced carbon footprint. Last but not least, any emissions generated – mainly by the use of consumables such as power – are offset by the CO2 absorption of the olive tree

Applications

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