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By-products Valorisation

The reduction of food industry loads and their environmental impact responds to the calling for action of modern regulations.

Food industry generates high amounts of solid waste/by-products and high volumes of effluents with an organic component. The more and more stringent environmental regulations are calling for action to reduce the environmental loads of the food industry.

Raw material, co-products, by-products and waste might become, after biological, chemical or physical treatments, cheap sources of fine-chemicals (antioxidants, biophenols, vitamins, etc.) and natural macromolecules (cellulose, starch, lignin, lipids, plant enzymes, pigments, etc.) of high interest for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industry.

Their constituents might also be converted into sophisticated chemicals (flavors, aminoacids, vitamins, microbial enzymes, etc.), biofuels (bioethanol, biodiesel, biogas, and biohydrogen) and bio-based products (biopolymers, fertilizers, lubricants, etc.), by treating them with tailored biotech processes.

Therefore, industrial biotechnology can offer effective strategies and tools for the re-utilization and valorisation of co-products, by-products and waste of the food industry, thus achieving a significant increase of environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Alma Food research overview

  • Fundamental research on anaerobic digestion: methane, hydrogen and volatile organic acid production from agro-industrial by-products and wastewaters
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions by replacing fossil fuels with energy crops
  • Identification, extraction and bioactivity assessment of phyto-components, such as essential oils, alkaloids, flavonoids, tocopherols, thiocyanates, biophenols and isothiocyanates
  • Wastewater recovery, recycle and phyto-component extraction
  • Production of flavours from agro-industrial wastes and by-products, via microorganism-based processes
  • Identification and exploitation of bio-active components in animal by-products for human and animal health
  • Evaluation of the chemical and nutritional quality of by-products added to feeds
  • Biotechnological production of microbial polymers, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates, from agro-industrial wastes and wastewaters
  • Analytical characterisation of vegetable- and condiment-plant by-products, as influenced by germplasm, growth conditions and post harvest treatments
  • Plant material analysis and bioactive retention factors in relation to processing operations.