Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


High value ingredients from poultry by-products

Project Acronym: PROSPARE

Title of project: Progress in saving proteins and recovering energy

Research area: Biotechnologies (Animal by-products - novel methods of treatment of animal by-products for the production of substances with biologically valuable functional properties)

Contract No : 212696

EU Contribution : 2 670 000 Euro

Start date : September 2008

Duration: 36 Months


The animal by-products industry is established as an important part of the world food production chain, providing valuable products and reducing pollution loads. However, such by-products could be used even more efficiently by application of new and safe biotechnological tools and processes.
This project aims to develop this concept using animal by-products from the poultry industry in a flexible process that can be tailored to the needs of other related industrial sectors. Using a novel biocatalytic approach parts of poultry such as feathers, carcasses, necks, trimmings and bones, that are not generally marketed, will be broken down into more valuable peptide mixtures (hydrolysates) with better nutritional properties. New techniques will be developed for the molecular characterization of the hydrolysates and for the development of products that can be used as antioxidants or prebiotics or that have antimicrobial or antihypertensive properties. These innovations should result in a range of products with beneficial properties that can be modified to produce food ingredients that will appeal to consumers, thus establishing additional markets for the animal by-product industry. In addition the feasibility of using fats for the production of biodiesel will be investigated.

Safety issues associated with the new technologies will be addressed and novel methods will be applied in order to assess the health benefits of the products developed as compared to conventional ones. The potential value of promising products will be demonstrated by scaling up the process to pre-industrial pilot level.

Expected Impact

Animal by-products are generally treated by the rendering and fat industry that provides an outlet for these materials by transforming them into products such as protein and mineral meal. However, the methods used are energy intensive and convert the protein of the input material to a meal with poorer digestibility and nutrient properties and a low commercial value. This project offers alternative treatments that, once validated and shown to produce ingredients acceptable as food and feed, should have a significant impact in this area. Adoption of the technology will increase possible income streams for the animal processors as well as generate new opportunities for food and feed manufacturers. The impact of the proposed route for the production of biodiesel will depend on the potential size of manufacturing plants. If a small scale process proves viable, the end product could be used within a business to fuel its fleet of vehicles, or be sold on a local basis. At a larger scale the process could contribute to renewed interest in biodiesel which has been subject to concerns arising from the 'food versus fuel' controversy as well as concerns about the increasing reduction in area of tropical forests for the cultivation of energy crops. An important aim of the project is to contribute to the evolution of EU Directives in this area as well as to influence similar developments in the Russian federation (RF). If parallel aims, objectives and procedures were adopted in the EU and the RF, this collaboration could lead to enhanced trade between these two markets.

Expected Results

Using optimised hydrothermic pre-treatments and subsequent efficient methods of enzymatic hydrolysis, including new enzyme blends, the project will produce protein hydrolysates with high digestibility from chicken feathers (FFP Functional Feather Proteins). The gentle process will preserve labile amino acids that might be degraded by harsher treatments as well as other biologically valuable materials. Similar peptide hydrolysates with acceptable taste and functional properties will be produced from bone and meat trimmings (FAP Functional Animal Proteins) by enzymatic hydrolysis. Information concerning their taste as well as various other properties of significance in terms of their value as food ingredients will be obtained.

In addition to details, regarding the molecular composition and nutritional value, information will be collected concerning aroma, rheological properties, amino acid balance, digestibility, bioactive peptide content, absence of abnormal or poorly metabolized compounds, low allergenicity and antioxidant capacity. The project will also produce new tools for microbial risk assessment and mycotoxin evaluation (fungal toxins content that will be verified against existing standard methods applied in the EU and RF for use in various food and feed processing chains). Two process pilot plant ( one for the FFP and one for the FAP) will be developed and tested during the project.

Results from product analysis and safety testing will be used to produce certificates of hygienic and safety as well as protocols for hydrolysate production according to Russian federation and EU standards. A database will be produced combining information on all the relevant characteristics and functional properties of the potential food products. The project partners will also produce recipes for production of functional foods and feed and carry out preliminary in vivo tests of the products paying special attention to their digestibility. Results will be summarised in a handbook with recommendations made for the evolution of relevant legislation covering such products in both the EU and the RF.

The project will also produce a new method for the production of biodiesel, using a technology developed to treat less-pure vegetable oil streams, and outline the required pre- and post-treatments to produce biodiesel in compliance with EU-norms. This route will be compared with alternative methods to recover energy from the fat streams generated in the overall process.

Website of project:


Coordinator: Arnaldo Dossena,

Organisation: University of Parma, Italy,


A.N. Bakh Institute of Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian federation,

Symbol Ltd

Russian federation State Institution All-Russian Research Institute for Poultry Processing Industry of Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences GU, Russian federation -

Mobitek-M, Russian federation

Flemish Institute of Technological Research, Belgium

Core Biotech SA, Belgium,

Agricultural Cooperative Tre Valli, Italy,