Project coordinator Dr Raija Lantto, told us APROPOS (Added value from high protein and high oil containing industrial co-streams), saw ‘zero waste’ as the goal, with near unlimited nutritional potential in plant and fish waste biomasses.
Rapeseed/canola/mustard and fish are being studied by the €3.9m project’s near-20 commercial and academic partners using water-efficient, enzymatic processes.
It is hoped partnerships in India and Kenya will deliver nutritious powders that can be used in the countries' battles with infant malnutrition.
“The thing is this is not rocket science. We are working with well-known enzyme technologies to facilitate extraction. Normally in the case of protein extraction you need a lot of water but we are working with more resource-efficient techniques,” said Dr Lantto, who is also the research manager at the VTT Research Institute in Finland.
Food supplements, skin care and food products are envisioned.
Other partners include Virgino, Sybimar Oy, Nutrimar, the University of Nairobi, Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network and the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) statistics, the global catch of fish is about 90m tonnes each year, of which Europe's share is around 13m 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,” APROPOS says.
The European Commission contributed 70% of the project's €3.9m budget.