Food systems represent up to 37% of human-induced GHG emissions. The major contributions come from soil mobilization, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation and food chains. In 2018, the European Union imported 102 k ton of gluten-free cereal grains, pulses, and oilseeds. While cereal crops production generates about 200 kg of CO2 eq/ton., the wild forests that produce nuts are responsible by carbon fixation in their wood and in the soil.

Acorn has a worldwide long history in human nutrition, folk medicine, animal feed, and tanneries. In general, acorn is rich in starch (~50%), 2–5% protein (gluten free), and fats (2- 30%), mainly, oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. About 36% of Portuguese forest, the endemic forest of Quercinae produce acorns. In particular, the “montado” from Alentejo is a quintessential acorn producer, producing 250000 ton/year. However, the incipient value chain, cultural constrains and the high tannin content of some species cause it to be largely wasted.

The LandFood project aims at establishing a value chain for “Landas” – regional name for tannin-rich acorns – to re-center the montado as the economic engine of the region. Thus, a regional network of stakeholders is being gathered, counting already with a supplier’s area of 20000 hectares. A pilot line, capable of extracting the tannin anti-nutrients to produce edible acorn granulate for agri-food industry, is being implemented. As well, the organic fraction generated during the process was shown to have a calorific power of 16 MJ/Kg, equivalent to average wood, and thus of interest to be explored as biomass for powering the processing line, producing carbon-neutral gluten-free food.

Funding: Fundação la Caixa

Type of project: PROMOVE piloto-inovador

Duration: 36 months

Start: 1st April 2021

Coordination LandraTech: Dr. Pedro Babo

Consortium: LandraTech, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, VALORIZA - Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre.

Status: Ongoing

Other Articles & Projects

May 27, 2022


The Acorn4MED project was supported by the ”la Caixa” Foundation through the third contest of the Promove Program, aimed at boosting the border regions of the interior of Portugal.

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May 27, 2022


LandFood aims to value acorns as a nutritious, gluten-free and sustainable raw material for the agri-food industry, helping to ensure the economic competitiveness of the endemic forest of the Alentejo. Through the establishment of a value chain that bridges the landowners, industrials and restaurants, LandFood is promoting the economic return to the region. Our strategy enhances a Forest2Fork concept while reusing lignocellulosic processing residues, thus fostering the circular bioeconomy and the sustainability of the food chain.

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