The Government is financially backing the project while C-Tech Innovation is directing it, with the help of several firms. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Project to extract nutritional value from seafood waste
Friday, May 28, 2010, 01:10 (GMT + 9)
Preliminary results from a UK government funded project centred on obtaining nutritional value from seafood and beverage processing waste found the process might recover glucosamine and other components.
UK-based technology development firm C-Tech Innovation is directing the three-year EXCIL project that entails collaborating with key stakeholders including Heineken UK, seafood processor West Coast Sea Products, the Sea Fish Industry Authority, waste management company SITA UK and Imperial College London. Applications will be designed for the healthcare, nutraceutical, chemical and food markets.
UK government agency the Technology Strategy Board is funding the research with the goal of providing a novel approach to resolving the environmental and monetary costs involved in the discarding of food and brewing waste via a sustainable and resource efficient process, reports FoodProduction Daily.
The highly selective extraction of material from complex systems can be performed under mild conditions with the use of custom designed ionic liquids. The project aims to recover glucosamine and chondroitin from seafood waste plus polyphenols from brewing, said project manager Rachel James of C-Tech Innovation.
Other components include saccharides from brewers spent grain for comestic applications and vegetarian sources of chitin.
EXCIL also aspires to develop seafood and brewing waste streams, create a waste extraction prototype and scale it up to industrial level, she told. The prototype will also incorporate measures to recover extracted components and recycle the ionic liquids.
These liquids are a salt in a liquid state, James said, and highly selective in similar compound separation. They are non volatile, recyclable, environmentally harmless and financially viable on a large scale as well.
Copious research has already targeted the use of ionic liquids to separate synthetic goods, metals and plastics in a stream of mixed waste.
The project’s science lead is Dr Sue Grimes, Imperial College professor in waste management technology. She is examining the selectivity capabilities of ionic liquids for the recovery of the highly valuable nutraceutical compounds, James informed.
“Early results from the research being undertaken by the team led by Dr Grimes are really promising and indicate that the project’s goal of being able to extract compounds such as glucosamine and chondroitin from processing waste is achievable,” she said.
Research from the UK Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) shows that the UK generates some 18-20 million tonnes of total annual food waste, with food processors creating an estimated 20 per cent of it.
It is believed that retailers produce about 1.6 million tonnes, with food service and restaurants producing about another 3 million tonnes of this food waste. The rest is generated by the agricultural and horticultural sector, and commercial food waste from hospitals, schools and related sources.
Household food waste adds an estimated 6.7 million tonnes annually.
EXCIL was launched in October 2009.
By Natalia Real