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.