Finding a Needle in a Haystack: Producing Antimicrobial Cutin-Derived Oligomers from Tomato Pomace

Rita Escórcio, Artur Bento, Ana S. Tomé, Vanessa G. Correia, Rúben Rodrigues, Carlos J.S. Moreira, Didier Marion, Bénédicte Bakan, Cristina Silva Pereira

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Agro-industrial residues comprise a rich diversity of plant polymers and bioactive compounds, constituting promising sources for the development of materials, including bioplastics, and food supplements, among other applications. In particular, the polyester cutin is abundant in fruit peel, a plentiful constituent of pomace agro-industrial residues. The potential of diverse fruit pomaces as a source for the development of cutin-derived materials/products has been extensively sought out. This study expands the established knowledge: it sets proof of concept for the production of antimicrobial oligomers from cutin-rich materials isolated in a single step from tomato pomaces generated by two remote agro-industries. Specifically, it first analyzed how the chemical signature (nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)) of a pomace (and of its major constituents) mirrors that of the corresponding cutin-rich material isolated using an ionic liquid extractant. The cutin-rich materials were then deconstructed (using mild hydrolyses), and the resultant mixtures were chemically characterized and screened for bactericidal activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The presence of esterified structures, linear and/or branched, likely comprising dioic acids as a major building block (but not exclusively) is a prerequisite for activity against E. coli but not against S. aureus that was susceptible to monomers as well. Further studies are required to optimize the production of broad bactericidal oligomers from any cutin-rich pomace source, moving ahead toward their circular usage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11415-11427
Number of pages13
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2022


  • antimicrobial activity
  • biopolyester
  • cutin
  • pomace
  • sustainable process


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