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Calendula: a golden opportunity for Flanders

CALENDULA AS A DUAL-PURPOSE CROP

Calendula officinalis L. is an Asteraceae that has its origins in the Mediterranean. It is cultivated for the essential flower oil for cosmetic or pharmaceutical purposes. Especially the content of faradiol in the harvested flower mass is important. In the last two decades, various applications for seed oil have also been developed. For example, this seed oil offers a renewable and environmentally friendly alternative to the volatile organic compounds in industrial paints.

MECHANIZATION OF THE FLOWER HARVEST

Together with the province of Flemish Brabant, ILVO developed a flower harvesting machine. A comb picks most of the flowers. Yield losses with mechanical harvesting amount to up to 20% of the manual harvest, depending on the height of the mowing position. Further optimization is still possible.

A MULTITUDE OF APPLICATIONS

Calendula fits perfectly in the context of the biorefinery where the various components in the flower or seed are extracted and valorised into various fractions. The flower oil is used in pharmacy and cosmetics. The polar phase of the flowers finds its application in the textile as a natural paint. The seed oil is used in the paint industry or possibly in the textile industry. The region of Flemish Brabant, Eco Treasures and the ILVO consortium are currently exploring these various lines of thought in terms of technical and economic feasibility, in close consultation with the various stakeholders.

More information: gerda.cnops@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, hilde.muylle@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, jurgen.vangeyte@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, bart.vandroogenbroeck@ilvo.vlaanderen.be

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