National Research Programme No. 2010.10-4/VPP-5
“Sustainable Use of Local Resources (Entrails of the Earth, Forest, Food and Transport) – New Products and Technologies (NatRes)”

Project No. 3. Sustainable use of local agricultural resources for development of high nutritive value food products (FOOD)

Project manager: Ruta Galoburda, Latvia University of Agriculture


Project performers:

  • Latvia University of Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture
  • Latvia University of Agriculture, Faculty of Food Technology
  • Agency of Latvia University of Agriculture, Research Institute of Biotechnology and Veterinary Medicine "Sigra"
  • State Priekuli Plant Breeding Institute
  • The Latvia State Institute of Fruit-Growing

Project implementation term: 48 months (2010-2013)


The aim: create possibilities for application of non-residual technologies to produce new and innovative products and to increase the competitiveness of enterprises, using local raw materials of plant and animal origin.

The tasks:

  • ito evaluate the effect of various aspects of growing technologies used in agriculture on production of high quality raw materials for food and feed; to assess agro-economic benefits and shortages of these technologies as regards to providing nutritive substances important for health and sustainability;
  • to evaluate the effect of new processing technologies on biologically active compounds in raw materials and food products; to establish optimum technological parameters for food quality maintenance in processing and for extending product shelf-life;
  • to explore possible non-residual technological solutions in food production in order to increase competiveness of primary producers and food processors.


  • to investigate sustainable use of soil and suitability of various farming technologies and various proportion of crops, their impact on yield and  quality and suitability for use for food and feed;
  • to evaluate the effect of growing technologies and systems on the content of nutritive substances in cultivars of field crops;
  • to explore the impact of fruit thinning methods on apple quality; to establish the most appropriate stage of maturity for storage of various apple cultivars under different conditions – cold storage, reduced oxygen level (ULO) and treatment with growth regulator 1-MCP;
  • to study the qualitative and quantitative content of biologically active compounds in cereals, rape seed, potatoes, apples and venison; to develop foods with increased biological value, using new technologies;
  • to assess the economic benefits and shortages in production of the new products;
  • to investigate the use of new type packaging (environmentally friendly, active, intelligent) for preserving of biologically active compounds along the food chain and for shelf life extension;
  • to study and give economic evaluation of the use of by-products obtained in production of rape-seed oil, bioethanol and apple juice as the feed additives for red deer in winter, to assess its impact on animal productivity and meat quality.

For achieving of the set aims and tasks, it is planned to establish a consortium of institutions working in agricultural and food science research, joining the accumulated scientific potential and their material and technical basis, and planning the project realization in four linked directions of research sub-projects.


Sub-project 1
Sustainable use of soil as the main resource for production of raw materials for obtaining of safe and high quality food and feed from the main cultivated field crops

Responsible leaders:
Dr. habil. agr. Antons Ruža, Latvia University of Agriculture Institute of Agrobiotechnology
Dr. agr. Ilze Skrabule, State Priekuli Plant Breeding Institute


The project foresees regular analyses of the full complex of soil agrochemical and agro-physical parameters, water regime in soil and water use parameters, indices of sun radiation FAR use, yield and quality, as well as utilization of plants nutrients.


The spectrum, harmfulness and dynamic of development of wheat and oil seed rape diseases depending on the growing technologies will be performed. Regular disease registration in the field and pathogen diagnosis in laboratory will be performed, and accumulation of micotoxins in the end product will be analysed. Knowledge of the development of harmful organisms in various technological systems is significant for attaining the aim of the programme – sustainable use of soil and high quality food production.


For the characterisation of the intensity of soil biological processes and diversity of organisms various methods will be used. Here, the most commonly used parameters are amount of microorganism biomass, supplemented by description of enzyme activity or C and N turnover processes. The evaluation of enzyme activity allows evaluation of the microbiological processes actively occurring in soil. Intensity of soil respiration and substrate induced respiration (SIR) will be studied. Intensity of respiration describes the activity of aerobic organisms in soil. By determining SIR it is possible to determine more exactly the amount of total microorganisms in soil as well as compare both the qualitative changes of microorganisms and their activity under various factors. On the basis of the SIR results microorganism amount in soil will be calculated following the carbon amount (according to LVS ISO 14240), along with activity of individual enzymes such as catalase, dehydrogenase, fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolyse.


For diversification of foods it is important to extend the range of available raw materials, which could be used for production of new biologically valuable products. Potatoes are a valuable source of carbohydrates as well as vitamins, mineral substances and antioxidants. Their content and possible uses are significantly influenced by the growing conditions and features of the cultivar. Specific quality parameters of raw materials (such as content of vitamins, fibre, mineral substances, amino acids, antioxidants) will be determined for production of healthy foods from crop cultivars grown in various farming systems.


Sub-project 2
Solutions for increasing and maintaining apple quality and for apple processing possibilities

Responsible leader: Dr. biol. Edīte Kaufmane, The Latvia State Institute of Fruit-Growing


Experimental settings will be arranged for harvest thinning which is one of the most effective methods in production of high quality fruits, using various thinning methods. When integrated growing technologies are used it is advisable to avoid chemical thinning of blossoms or fruit buds, therefore options for use of mechanical methods will be studied. Previous observations indicate that some cultivars can produce high quality fruits by regular renewal pruning of branches, which provides sufficient amount of qualitative leaf area for each fruit. Therefore the renewal pruning intensity and its schedule will be researched depending on cultivar. Research will be done in older orchards on medium vigour rootstocks in the stage of full production, establishing also the potential age of fruiting branches of commercially grown apple cultivars, which still provides sufficient yield and quality, along with the most suitable time for their renewal.


In order to provide apple quality maintaining both in storage and in retail shops, the characteristic parameters of apple maturity will be more precisely defined for storage under various conditions. New energy saving storage technology will be adapted for extending of apple fruit shelf life. Recently in Europe and USA, after carrying out extensive studies, fruits and berries are treated with growth regulator 1-MCP during storage and distribution. It is an antagonist of the plant natural hormone ethylene, which promotes fruit ripening. 1-MCP, known with trade name SmartFresh, blocks ethylene influence on harvested fruits and berries. The effect of this growth regulator is maintained not only during storage but as well 2–3 weeks after placement in market. Under influence of the preparation the apple retains the same ripening stage as it was during the time of treatment, therefore it is important to establish the most appropriate harvest and treatment time for each cultivar. There are some cultivars for which 1-MCP is not suitable. The effect of 1-MCP on fruit shelf life will be analysed.


It is planned in co-operation with entrepreneurs to develop and adapt new technologies for apple processing in order to diversify the market. One of wide known apple juice products is cider. The use of appropriate apple cultivars is crucial in ensuring the quality of natural apple cider. Chemical composition of crab type apples – optimum ratio between sugars and acids, high content of tannins and flavonols, as well as their content of aroma compounds in blending with juice obtained from commercially grown apples allows to obtain enriched final product. Yet there is lack of research on juice yield and chemical composition of crab apples grown in Latvia. Modelling of technological processes will be the basis for the development of naturally fermented sparkling apple beverage production technology. At the Latvia State Institute of Fruit-Growing there is available apple cultivar material, sufficient for obtaining of the necessary amount of fruits, as well as fruit storage facilities with controllable temperature and ULO chambers.


Sub-project 3
Obtaining of high quality products of deer farming under sustainable farming conditions

Responsible leader: Dr. habil. agr., Dr. vet. med. Aleksandrs Jemeļjanovs, Agency of Latvia University of Agriculture, Research Institute of Biotechnology and Veterinary Medicine "Sigra"


It is planned in the project to use the by-products from local food processing companies for deer feed during winter. By-products from rape seed oil production – rape cake - and dry distiller’s grain from wheat processing into bio-ethanol will be used as protein source in animal ration. Apple pomace – the by-product of apple juice production will be used as fibre, minerals and vitamins containing feed supplement. Feed supplements will be purchased from local producers: rape cake from „Iecavnieks” Ltd., dry distiller’s grain – from „Jaunpagasts Plus” Ltd. and apple pomace from different apple-juice producers. Further co-operation is foreseen with local farms producing venison - farm „Saulstari 1” and Ltd. „Māras brieži”, as well as meat processing enterprise Ltd. „Viesuļi”. During feeding experiments the physiological condition of deer organs will be studied, analysing biochemical indices of deer blood, as well as evaluation of the morpho-functional condition of the digestive tract upon animal slaughter, using histological, histochemical, immunochemical methods. For the first time in Latvia analysis of molecular biology will be approbated for evaluation of venison microbiological contamination.


For evaluation of venison quality the following parameters will be determined: prior to slaughter – animal live weight and fatness, after slaughter – carcass length, thickness of subcutaneous fat on back, the cross section area of the longest muscle of back (m. longissimus lumborum), percentage of lean meat. Upon carcass dividing the weight and quality of meat cuts will be evaluated, giving value in money according to the current retail prices. The chemical analysis of meat will show: pH, pH24, dry matter (%), protein (%), fat (%), phosphorus (%), oxy-proline (g kg-1), tryptophan (g kg-1), ratio between tryptophan and oxy-proline, cholesterol (mg kg-1), mineral substances, and fatty acids.


Sub-project 4
Influence of new processing technologies on retaining of biologically active compounds in food products

Responsible leader: Dr. sc. ing. Tatjana Rakčejeva, Latvia University of Agriculture, Faculty of Food Technology


In the framework of the project new processing technologies (ultrasound treatment, microwave-vacuum drying) will be studied for use of production of high value, quality and microbiologically safe food products from local raw materials – traditionally grown varieties and cultivars selected in Latvia (wheat, rape, potatoes, etc.), as well as hull-less barley, triticale and venison. It is foreseen to study biologically active compounds (vitamins, flavonoids, carotenoids, etc.) in cereals, potatoes, apples, venison and in products of their processing depending of the applied technology. The use of ultra sound will allow obtaining higher yield of rape seed oil, as well as new technologies for the use of rape oil production by-product - rape seed cake – for innovative product development. Salt content, as well as ways of peroxide, acrylamide and other hazardous compound reduction in processed potato products will be studied, maximally retaining the biologically active substances present in potatoes. The suitability of developed technologies for industrial production will be assessed in co-operation with potential food producers. The use of new type packaging – environmentally friendly, active, and intelligent – for the developed products will be examined with the aim to retain biologically active compounds along the whole food chain. Providing of food safety will be an important issue in the new product development, performing of hazard analysis and developing preventive measures.


Letter to LSIWCh
Letter to webmaster
© 2007-2016, Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry
Page updated 20.12.2011.