Resource consumption and environmental impacts of the agrofood sector: life cycle assessment of italian citrus-based products

Maurizio Cellura, Marco Beccali, Marina Mistretta, Maria Iudicello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Though many studies concern the agro-food sector in the EU and Italy, and its environmental impacts, literature is quite lacking in works regarding LCA application on citrus products. This paper represents one of the first studies on the environmental impacts of citrus products in order to suggest feasible strategies and actions to improve their environmental performance. In particular, it is part of a research aimed to estimate environmental burdens associated with the production of the following citrus-based products: essential oil, natural juice and concentrated juice from oranges and lemons. The life cycle assessment of these products, published in a previous paper, had highlighted significant environmental issues in terms of energy consumption, associated CO2 emissions, and water consumption. Starting from such results the authors carry out an improvement analysis of the assessed production system, whereby sustainable scenarios for saving water and energy are proposed to reduce environmental burdens of the examined production system. In addition, a sensitivity analysis to estimate the effects of the chosen methods will be performed, giving data on the outcome of the study. Uncertainty related to allocation methods, secondary data sources, and initial assumptions on cultivation, transport modes, and waste management is analysed. The results of the performed analyses allow stating that every assessed eco- profile is differently influenced by the uncertainty study. Different assumptions on initial data and methods showed very sensible variations in the energy and environmental performances of the final products. Besides, the results show energy and environmental benefits that clearly state the improve- ment of the products eco-profile, by reusing purified water use for irrigation, using the railway mode for the delivery of final products, when possible, and adopting efficient technologies, as the mechanical vapour recompression, in the pasteurisation and concentration of juice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-724
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Management
Volume43
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Resource consumption and environmental impacts of the agrofood sector: life cycle assessment of italian citrus-based products'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this