VALCAST II - Valorização da castanha Portuguesa e optimização do seu processamento

Chestnuts play an important role on the socio-economic development of Trás-os-Montes region (represent 85% of the total production in Portugal). These fruits have been gaining increased interest in human diet however more studies are needed to clarify the real nutritional value. Processing is concentrated in one company SORTEGEL which trades both fresh fruit (19%) and frozen (74%), based on the use of traditional cultivars (mainly Longal, Judia and Martainha) with an average loss of 6-7% mainly due to fragmentation of the fruit, clearly the major problem. After a comprehensive analysis of the chain production it was identified several weaknesses, which tend to be solved by research proposed in this project. Thus, the studies will concentrate on the several steps through the chain for the 3 major portuguese cultivars, 1 italian and 1 spanish: reception, packing, storage, peeling and freezing. Following the evaluation and design of the best storage containers, at the fruit structure level it will be evaluated the physical and mechanic properties, the commercial and processing characteristics of fruits and the chemical composition of fruits to emphasize the nutritional value of the fruits.