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The Project


The PulpIng project has 11 partners from 6 different countries, which aims to stimulate and improve the sustainable valuation of pumpkin in African and European countries in an integrated and waste-free manner, using innovative processing and preservation technologies.
The Pulping project is expected to generate an entire value chain, from nature to safe food products/ingredients, improving incomes, creating jobs and promoting local economies in the Mediterranean region.


The limitation of natural resources, together with current consumer trends and needs, demand implementing sustainable food systems, able to produce healthier products and fulfil circular economy principles. Therefore, an integrated strategy aligned with economic, social and environmental aspects, is proposed for the Mediterranean basin, to generate a food value-chain based on developing a novel pumpkin fruit pulp product, incorporating pumpkin by- product extracts with preserving capacity, thus promoting the sustainable development of these ecosystems.

The food industry is under pressure to offer healthy, convenient, and ready-to-eat foods, able to meet daily nutritional needs, provide pleasure and satiety, and attend to consumers’ growing expectations and safety issues. Consumers also search for food with diversified organoleptic properties and free of artificial additives. Inversely, the food industry still relies on artificial additives to preserve and enhance food properties, due to the lack of effective natural counterparts, which face stability and availability limitations. Hence, novel products are emerging, including fruit- /vegetable-based health-promoting foods free of artificial additives. Furthermore, it is necessary to develop sustainable processing and preserving methods to ensure food quality and safety, while promoting self-sufficiency (zero waste context). In a more social-oriented way, PulpIng aims to improve the pumpkin production in northern Africa through technology transfer from research into established local enterprises. The public and societal engagement is obvious, as it deals with actual problems of today’ society, namely the long-term consumer’ health and environmental sustainability, and food security for all. All the proposed activities will have significant impacts at national and international level, given the worldwide use of the developed product (pumpkin fruit pulp).

The main ambition is to develop a novel pumpkin pulp product incorporated with pumpkin by-products extracts with preserving capacity. This purpose will rely on combining scientific and technological skills held by the consortium members with different levels of technological maturity.


PulpIng is aimed to stimulate a value chain with innovative processes that goes throughout all developing stages of pumpkin fruit pulp formulation functionalised with a natural-based preservative extracted from pumpkin by-products. The overall process will be aligned with sustainability principles and novel processes/technologies along all stages: pumpkin cultivation; active ingredients extraction and purification; evaluation of preserving capacity, processing and long-term stability of the final product; life-cycle assessment. The successful development of the proposed project will be achieved through multidisciplinary research activities divided into the following specific objectives:

  1. Improve cultivation and integrated farming techniques based on innovative processes to enhance the productivity and the chemical/nutritional profile of pumpkin;

  2. Develop innovative, sustainable and industrially feasible methods to extract high added-value ingredients with effective preserving capacity;

  3. Identify and isolate natural preservatives with excellent antioxidant and antimicrobial capacity from pumpkin by- products;

  4. Implement sustainable and easy-to-perform techniques to obtain bio-based preservatives, suitable to be used in industrial scale-up processes;

  5. Develop a novel pumpkin fruit pulp formulation functionalised with the isolated natural preservatives;

  6. Develop/optimise non-thermal processing methods based on innovative technologies, which ensure food quality and safety;

  7. Carry out an optimised approach to enhance the shelf-life of pumpkin fruit pulp formulation;

  8. Optimise waste/wastewater management and perform a life-cycle assessment to ensure the environmental feasibility of the operations involved in this proposal;

  9. Promote dissemination and exploitation of the results generated in this proposal to impact both the scientific community and the economy of the participating countries.

The described aims are in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy of 2020 and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and intend to address food safety/security issues and promote circular food systems in Mediterranean regions.

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