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Waste from potatoes is a potential goldmine

A new research collaboration wants to make us of by-products from potatoes and seaweed in the ingredient production. The perspectives are promising natural additives and better use of resources as well as an impressive potential for increase of value of up to 1000. Innovation Fund Denmark have invested EUR 1.2 million in the project.

Today seaweed and potatoes are used to extract a number of additives for food production. This means that large amounts of by-products are converted but not earning much value and is either sold as animal feed or ends up as garbage. But the by-products hold valuable proteins that, if they can be extracted efficiently and at a low cost, are able to be used for productions of additives such as preservatives, flavor additives and emulsifier.

With investments from Innovation Fund Denmark researchers from Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Aalborg Univsersity will collaborate with five companies to develop tools, using the knowledge coming from the protein sequence to scan the by-product for protein characteristics that can make them useful for the production of additives.

They will also be developing tools to take out parts of the proteins to be used in production. The by-products are today sold at the very low price of EUR 0,13- 2,02 per. kilo. The project partners expect that this extract protein mass can be sold at a kilo price from 10 up to 1000 times higher, depending on the potential uses. The research project will also give a unique insight into the potential use of the potato for new specialized ingredients for food production or non-food products. Says development director Ole Bandsholm Sørensen from one of the commercial project partners KMC. It is not only a valuable business to extract and sell the valuable proteins from the by-product. The proteins can also work as preservatives and lengthen the life span of the food products where they are added. In that sense they can also contribute to a reduction of waste on resources.

On a global scale, large amounts of food are wasted as they are not used in time. In developing countries, it is especially with the manufacturers that the food products go bad. In developed countries, it is because the consumers do not use the products in time. With this project, the proteins from the waste products can be used as preservatives, and make sure that the food products are tempting and appetizing for longer.

Main potentials for society:
  • Increased value of waste products
  • Increased use of natural additives.
  • Better use of produce helping to reduce food waste.

Source: DTU Food – National Food Institute