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Food Quality and Safety in Europe

TURNING ORGANIC WASTE INTO HEALTHY FEED

TURNING ORGANIC WASTE INTO HEALTHY FEED image

The food industry's processing of fruit, vegetables and plants produces millions of tons of organic waste, by-products and residues annually. Today's technology for reusing these waste materials is very limited, and industry mostly disposes of them through composting or incineration, costing millions of euro and contributing to environmental problems. The European Union wants to put this organic material to better use. The Specific Targeted Research Project SAFEWASTES combines 12 participants from seven countries who are working to develop innovative biotechnology for processing and purifying organic materials from the food and plant-based-additive industries. The object is to recover valuable compounds for use in food and feed additives with significant health benefits for animals and human beings.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

The 36-month SAFEWASTES project groups academic staff and food industry SMEs with expertise in upgrading industrial organic wastes, biochemistry and phytochemistry, nutrition, physiology, bacteriology, functional genomics, feed technology and manufacturing, as well as environmental protection. The Austrian-led project will start by developing a recycling process for food industry waste - and adapt the process for the plant-based-additives industry - to recover valuable compounds from organic waste from sources including artichokes, milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and thyme extracts.

SAFEWASTES will conduct phytochemical evaluations and in vitro and in vivo testing to validate the recovery processes, as well as the functional values of the compounds and the additives made from them, assessing risks, quality and safety. It will demonstrate the costs and benefits of the processes and measure their positive and negative environmental impacts.

One key project aim is to develop organic feed additives to replace in-feed antibiotics, which the European Union plans to phase out in 2006. The phase-out, intended to minimise development of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic micro-organisms, could initially lead to increased gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders in livestock. Organic additives based on recovered compounds, such as pectins recovered from fruit and vegetable waste, can contribute to antimicrobial activity in the gut, reducing pathogenic microflora and stabilising physiological microflora. Acid oligosaccharides, recovered from carrot waste, can prevent diarrhoea in animals and human infants, and fight sepsis in laying hens. Other recovered compounds can reduce methane activity. Recycled polyphenols and flavonoids could be added to human food for their antioxidant qualities, for prevention of cancer and heart disease.

SAFETY, THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT IN ORGANIC FARMING

SAFEWASTES will help food manufacturers employ scientific approaches to meet consumer demands for safer, higher quality food. By providing new, natural and functional products that improve animal welfare and, hence, lead to better food products, the project boosts European competitiveness. Improved recycling of organic wastes should reduce the load on landfills and cut methane production by compost, as well as reduce other potentially toxic compounds. SAFEWASTES can improve cooperation between industry and academia, generating new employment in biotechnological processing. The project will establish an easy-access website database compiling the results of its research.

List of Partners

  • University of Veterinary Medicine (Austria)
  • Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (Austria)
  • Institute for Animal Science and Health (The Netherlands)
  • University of Hohenheim (Germany)
  • University of Thessaloniki (Greece)
  • University of Udine (Italy)
  • University of Milan (Italy)
  • Bionorica (Germany)
  • Vitamex, Nutrition Science NV (Belgium)
  • Biomin (Austria)
  • Institute of Soil Science (Poland)
  • RTD Services (Austria)
Acronym:
SAFEWASTES
Full title:
Evaluating physiological and environmental consequences of using organic wastes after technological processing in diets for livestock and humans
Contract n°:
513949
Website:
www.safewastes.info
Project co-ordinator:
Chlodwig Franz, University of Veterinary Medicine, chlodwig.franz@vu-wien.ac.at
EC Scientific Officer:
Hallgeir Herikstad, hallgeir.herikstad@ec.europa.eu
EU contribution:
€ 2.2M
Call:
FP6-2003-Food-2
Type:
Specific Targeted Research Project

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top