Develop value-added food and industrial products from Yucatan crops based on shared values using sustainable technology

Why is this project relevant?

  • Promotes economic and technical development in Yucatan: Food and agricultural industry and communities.
  • Develop products based on shared vision and interests of Yucatan agriculture, industry and markets.
  • Improve competiveness of Yucatan food processors to penetrate
    • Local markets
    • New markets in coastal tourist areas
    • New markets in other Mexican states
    • International Markets
  • Promote local culture through artisanal products
  • Promote regional employment – prevention of youth emigration
  • Promote local economy through expanding local markets and reducing import of foods for tourist areas.
crop ramon yucatan
Ramon (Brosimum alicastrum)

Locally Relevant Crops…

  • Ramon (Brosimum alicastrum)
  • Achiote (Bixa orellana L.)
  • Henequen (Agave fourcroydes Lem.)
  • Honey
  • Citrus
  • Habanero pepper

Scientific Significance:

By-product utilization in the promotion of health and wellness, prevention of chronic disease and improvement of nutrition in vulnerable population segments

Broader Impacts:

  • Improve economic development (science and technology) in Yucatan food and agricultural industry and communities
  • Promoting connection of Yucatan Food Industry to Markets
  • Creation of artisanal products
  • Promote regional employment
  • Prevent emigration of youth

Binational Target Problems 

  • Public Health: Yucatan State has highest obesity rate in Mexico & Texas has second highest obesity rate in U.S.
  • Food Deserts in Rural Areas: Limited availability of foods/ingredients with functional properties
  • Under-Utilized Crops: Promotion of local crops with high potential for added value products
  • Emigration of Youth: Young workforce leaves rural regions

education capacity buildingEducation Capacity Building

-Bi-lingual Hands-on Continuing Education in Food Safety, Animal Health, Biodefense, Supplychain, Ag-economics Functional Foods, Food Quality, Bio-processing, Food/Water-Issues, Outreach to Public
Objective: Capacity Building in Food Safety/Quality for Producers and Processors in Mexico, Caribbean, Middle and South-America
Hypotheses: Improvement of education in food safety/quality – capacity-building will enable technology-transfer

-Joint education program in food safety, functional foods, Bio-processing (Yucatan Institutions-TAMU)
Objective: Provide cutting edge College education/graduate education,
Hypotheses: Targeted Education will improve capacity and employment of future scientists and prevent erosion of youth workforce

Research: Value Addition to Local Crops

Utilization of microorganisms in the generation of bioactive metabolites from Yucatan agricultural by-productsvalue added chain
Objective: To develop functional additives to food products used in the mitigation of chronic health issues
utilization in Yucatan/Mayan products
Hypotheses: Functional microbial metabolites from agricultural by-products mitigate inflammation and improve intestinal health, prevent GI diseases that contribute to malnutrition

Value-Added Products from Bioactives (proteins and secondary compounds) from relevant target plants against infectious and chronic diseases
Objective: Development of Bioactives for Applications including Foods, Supplements, Medicine, Cosmetics, and Vaccines with a focus on Yucatan agricultural products
Hypotheses: Utilization of cutting edge technologies (e.g. e-beam,encapsulation, packaging)) will attract federal and industry funding

-Development of Artisanal Functional Products Improving Health targeting Tourists and Locals
Objective: Providing regional, functional foods to improve Health and Wellness
yucatan artisanal honeyyucatan artesanal product

Anticipated Results and Products

  • Trained personnel in food industry – reaching of compliance levels (proficiency certificates)
  • New functional products
  • Educational materials (bi-lingual)
  • New processing methods
  • Economic/market analysis
  • Joint IP and publications
  • Economic growth and stability