Project partner, Edward Sliwinski of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology presented INGREEN at the IAFP – the European Symposium on Food Protection on 4 May 2022.
During his presentation, Sliwinski explained that food is wasted in all steps of the food supply chain. This can be caused by inefficiency, which is partly unavoidable. However, in many cases, the generation of side streams is part of the linear set-up of our economy. Important to note that it isn’t only the amount of about food that is wasted that counts, but also the nutritional value of it. Often these side streams are used for feed, which is lower in the upcycling pyramid.
Sliwinski continued by presenting some of the by-products that the INGREEN project is focussed on that are generated in the post-harvest stage and the processing and manufacturing stage. For example, whey, a side stream from cheese making, has been fermented and combined with Y. lipolytica to produce a coating for innovative cheese. By applying this to the outer surface, the cheese needs fewer preservatives to prolong its shelf life.
The second side stream that is valorised by the INGREEN project are milling by-products, usually called wheat and rye bran. An optimal consortium of micro-organisms was selected for fermentation, which gave this side-stream interesting properties like increased bioactive peptides, antioxidant activity, and SCFA-s. These developed ingredients have been used as pre-fermented cereal bran ingredients and for nutraceuticals.
The third INGREEN side stream is paper milling wastewater, which contains a substantial level of Volatile Fatty Acids that when fermented by a mixed microbial culture produces PHA. INGREEN has developed methods to use PHA-enriched biomass as an ingredient to produce animal feed and purified PHA can be used as a replacement for synthetic plastics.
Subsequently, Edward commented on areas in regulatory relevant to the INGREEN project, mentioning the need to follow the guidelines for the feed use of food no longer intended for human consumption (CN No. 2018/2035). However, INGREEN is not only developing new ingredients for feed, but also for food and personal care from the three different side streams. Therefore, we have applied for novel food status for the innovative cheese with living Yarrowia lipolytica applied on the outer surface.
For food supplements and medical devices, care needs to be taken as some aspects of regulation are harmonized for the EU, and others differ per country. Lastly by fermenting paper mill wastewater, INGREEN actually moves up in the waste hierarchy by developing high-value feed use over low-value energy use, which also comes with its own set of regulatory challenges.
Since 2005, IAFP’s European symposium has been shaping the future of food safety by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas with colleagues from across Europe working in industry, government, and academia. The Symposium is considered an excellent forum to gain knowledge about the latest developments and techniques in food science and safety. The symposium was held 4-6 May 2022 in Munich, Germany.