The INGREEN journey from agrifood sidestream to sustainable biobased products

The INGREEN project hosted a special session at the 36th EFFoST International conference in Dublin, Ireland on 8 November 2022. A number of project partners presented the final results of the project to an audience of food scientists and technologists.

The main premise of this special session was to provide information on how tailor-made sustainable biotechnologies developed in INGREEN transformed waste and low-value agrifood side streams into higher-value functional and bioactive ingredients for use in food products using a circular bioeconomy approach. A select number of new chemicals, new materials, and new consumer products developed from whey, wheat and rye brans, and paper milling wastewater during this 3,5-year project were presented.

Narinder Bains from INEUVO provided a brief introduction to the project before Davide Gottardi from the university of Bologna kicked off the scientific presentations. Davide’s explained how innovative and sustainable cheeses were produced by applying Yarrowia lipolytica to whey substrate. The ability to find new purposes for whey is very appealing to the dairy industry because to produce a kg of cheese, 9 kg of whey is obtained. The novel cheese developed in the INGREEN project has an accelerate ripening time and a longer shelf life.

This presentation was followed by Lorenzo Siroli from the University of Bologna who spoke about the health benefits of milling by-products in food formulations. However their use as food ingredient as been limited to date, therefore INGREEN has developed innovative bakery products using pre-fermented ingredients from milling by-products that have the ability to improve gut health.

Aleksandra Augustyniak from the Munster Technological University evaluated the effect of whey derived from the production of three Italian cheeses, caciotta, squacquerone and ricotta, on dermal and epidermal cells. The obtained results indicate that tested pure whey supports skin health and show potential to be used by the cosmetic industry.

Edward Sliwinski from the European Federation of Food Science and Technology shared the regulatory aspects of novel bio-based ingredients used in food, feed, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and packaging. Additionally, he proposed a number of improvements to the current regulatory environment to allow the bio-based food ingredients industry to develop further.

Lastly, Dirk Hengevoss from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland talked about the transition from a linear to a circular economy, which means extracting more biochemical feedstocks from renewable biomass residues. Life-cycle assessments are used to quantify the eco-effectivity and -efficiency of the proposed processes and extracts. The LCA results of two INGREEN cases, LBA for intimate cleansers and PHA for animal feed, reveal that the new valorisation routes have reduced environmental footprints.

In conclusion, the results achieved with this project allowed the set up of more sustainable processes that promote a circular economy.

The 36th EFFoST International Conference 2022 was hosted by University College Dublin and held in the city of Dublin, Ireland. EFFoST2022 explored the theme ‘Shaping the Production of Sustainable, Healthy Foods for the Future’.

Every year the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) organises this prestigious academic food science and technology conference to bring together world-renowned researchers, scientists, policymakers, professionals and students from multi-disciplinary food-related fields to share the latest developments and create new partnerships.