Naringin Extraction from Exhausted Bergamot Peels

Bergamot peels contain quantities of the flavonoid naringin, which has interesting pharmacological properties. This paper describes a process using ultrafiltration and resin adsorption to purify naringin obtained by hot water extraction from bergamot peels. Utilization of bergamot wastes for production of flavonoids represents an important added value to the citrus industry.

Naringin in Bergamot

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia RISSO), an extraordinary citrus that grows almost exclusively in Calabria, provides a valuable essential oil, well known and valued by perfumers around the world. Moreover, it is a rich source of important substances for the human diet. Its juice contains sugars, vitamins, free amino acids, proteins, minerals, flavonoids and carotenoids. The naringin content is responsible for the bitter taste of the juice, but it is possible to reduce the quantity of naringin by a physical process based on resin adsorption.

When the bergamot fruits are processed for essential oils and juice production, about 40% of their weight remains in the form of peel, pulp, rag and seeds. This material, considered waste, is fed to cattle or dried and sent to other factories for pectin production. But these waste materials also are the interesting raw materials for the production of a large number of specialty products that are of economic value and have a potential market.

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