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Food industry’s high-quality co-streams used effective ly as raw material for new products

13 August 2012 Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)

European, Canadian, African and Indian researchers are developing together new ways of using the substantial co-streams from fish and oil plant processing. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland coordinates the European Commission's APROPOS project. This project's researchers aim to develop methods of ecologically, effectively and economically reusing protein- and oil-rich side streams suitable for food, as dietary supplements, skin care products, for example.

Co-streams from the food industry are excellent sources of proteins and healthy oils for use in foods and cosmetics. However, at the moment these side streams are mainly used as fish and animal feed, for energy, or end up as waste.

Coordinated by VTT, the APROPOS (Added value from high protein and high oil containing industrial co-streams) project seeks to enrich several co-stream components at once from food quality co-streams of rapeseed/canola/mustard and fish. In particular, this project aims to promote the competitiveness of the SME sector and developing regional production units located near primary production.

High demand for waste-free biorefineries

“From the point of view of sustainable development, using high-quality side streams from fisheries, agriculture and the food industry is a better solution than expanding agriculture and the number of farmed animals. There is global demand for a waste-free biorefinery, processing natural products which improve human well-being,” says Raija Lantto, Technology Manager at VTT, coordinating the project.

According to FAOSTAT statistics, the global catch of fish is about 90 million tonnes each year, of which Europe's share is around 13 million tonnes. Nearly half is used as human food. Annual production of oil plants, such as the oil palm, soy, olive, sunflower and turnip rape, is around 60 million tonnes, of which 25 tonnes come from Europe. In oil plant production, an even greater portion remains unused, as foodstuffs for humans.

It has been estimated that the world population will reach 9 billion people by 2030, with the need for food growing by 50 per cent.

In addition to VTT, the research partners in the European Commission's APROPOS project include the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the Lithuanian Aleksandras Stulginskis University, the Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network from Canada, the Energy Research Institute, India and the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Research organisations concentrate in developing eco-efficient biomechanical processing technologies and end-product solutions suitable for small enterprises. SMEs from various countries contribute to evaluate applicability and feasibility of the technologies.

The three-year APROPOS project runs on a budget of EUR 4 million, of which 70 per cent has been granted by the Commission.

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