Avocado pits as plastic, coloring agent and cosmetic product

Just under 19,500 tons in 2009, about 31,400 tons in 2013, 72,700 tons in 2017 and more than 118,500 tons in 2020. The amount of avocados imported to Germany is continuously increasing, testifying to the growing popularity of the exotic fruit in recent years.


However, the high fat content of almost 15% plays a particularly important role, because of which the avocado is considered the fruit with the highest fat content. Since the fats contained are healthy unsaturated fatty acids, they are by no means a disadvantage, but almost the best thing about the fruit, as they regulate our cholesterol balance and prevent heart attacks, for example, because they strengthen the cardiovascular system. In addition, they improve the absorption of nutrients and stimulate the metabolism, which is why avocados can even help you lose weight. In addition, they are very satiating due to the fats they contain and can thus reduce the need for snacks.

Because of all the positive properties, the avocado fruit, which from a botanical point of view is considered a berry, is now offered and consumed in a wide variety of ways. Among other things, it serves as a garnish for sandwiches and salads and is often made into guacamole, a vegan Mexican dip.

The trendy fruit has numerous health benefits and also goes down well with consumers in terms of taste, but unfortunately it is not particularly environmentally friendly. About 1000 liters of water go into the production of one kilogram of avocados. Moreover, they only grow in warm regions and usually have to be irrigated artificially.

The avocado originated in Mexico, but is now also grown in Peru, Chile, California, South Africa, Colombia, Israel, Australia and Spain. Since the fruit cannot be produced regionally, it often has to travel long distances before it arrives in Germany.

Nevertheless, the trend is growing and we expect consumption to continue to rise. It is therefore even more important that the precious fear is fully utilized and nothing is wasted. Therefore, in the following text, we present the pit, which accounts for about 13 to 18% of the total weight of the avocado.

The avocado pit


The avocado seed has a hard shell, but under this outermost skin it is quite soft. In fact, the seed is even edible, but because of the persin it contains, a toxic compound, the sale of products with avocado seeds is currently not allowed in Europe.

The persin is supposed to protect the seed from pests, so it serves as a natural protection against worms, amoebas, and fungi, but it is also toxic to larger animals such as mice, dogs, and birds, which, however, react very differently to it. The toxin is considered harmless to humans in small amounts, but the extent to which the amount contained in the avocado pit is harmful has not yet been studied.

Nevertheless, there are numerous tips on the Internet for the use of avocado pits with regard to the many beneficial ingredients that develop their effect not only when consumed, but also in cosmetic application.

Ingredients


The pit, like the fruit, is rich in fatty acids, fiber, essential amino acids, vitamins, trace elements such as potassium and minerals such as iron and magnesium, which are present in high concentration. It also contains substances with antioxidant potential. The ingredients strengthen the immune system, lower cholesterol levels and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Regular consumption is also said to be able to prevent infections and protect our cells.

It is recommended to process the kernel into powder for consumption. To do this, the hard shell is first removed and then the inside is dried or roasted. Finally, the dried pit is ground or grated into powder. If desired, it can also be cut into small pieces before drying or ground first and then dried. It is normal for the pit to turn dark orange after the hard shell has been removed, because the ingredients oxidize in the air.

The finished powder has a nutty flavor and can be easily stirred into dishes or used in smoothies, sauces and pastries to take advantage of its beneficial properties. Tea can also be infused with it. In any case, the powder should be used very sparingly, because the pit tastes not only nutty, but also bitter.

Even if research in the future proves that persin is present in harmless quantities, even small amounts are enough to take advantage of the beneficial properties of the pit. As already mentioned, the sale of food products containing avocado kernel powder is not allowed in Europe, but this does not mean that the pit is worthless.

Application in alternative industries

The avocado has long been known in the cosmetics industry, where it is used primarily for face creams, because the high fat content moisturizes the skin, nourishes rough skin and protects it from drying out. The skin thus becomes noticeably smoother and softer.

The fruit is also processed into shampoos, because the vitamin biotin contained gives the hair a beautiful shine. The pit can also be used in the manufacture of hair care products because, like the fruit, it makes hair shiny and strong, and also regulates their water balance and gives them elasticity. In addition, it is said to fight split ends. In the form of creams, the seed soothes skin blemishes and pimples. The antioxidants it contains can also make the cream an effective remedy for joint swelling and stiffness, and reduce inflammation. In addition, ground into powder, it can also be added to facial scrubs, helping to remove dead skin.

However, the cosmetics industry is not the only alternative industry that can use the seed. Indeed, the versatile seed has coloring properties and can therefore be used in the textile industry, for example. At this point, even the avocado peel comes into play, another residual material that is produced during the processing of the trendy fruit and is used far too rarely. The pit and peel can be boiled together. This produces a pinkish brew that lends fabrics, for example, a vibrant hue.

In addition to the cosmetics and textile industries, the plastics industry can also benefit from the pit.

Since 2013, there has been a startup in Mexico that focuses entirely on the inside of the avocado as a raw material and uses the pit to produce plastic straws and cutlery. The innovative plastic is biodegradable and is said to be 100% self-decomposing after 240 days.

The startup sources the raw material from local farms that have noticed that the pit is difficult to compost due to its high oil content. Using a patented process, the avocado pits are transformed into a heat-resistant plastic that is cut or bent into various shapes under the influence of heat. In addition to straws and cutlery, this process creates food containers, plates and more.

As we can see, the core is no less valuable than the popular pulp and will hopefully continue to gain attention in the future so that it can develop its full potential.

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