In food production, large amounts of waste are generated which often remain unused. The simple disposal of these by-products does not just lead to waste; the industry additionally loses potential resources. The TRANSBIO research project aims to produce valuable biogenic products from waste generated in the fruit and vegetable processing industry.
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Bremerhaven, 18th June 2012. It has long been known that in Germany half of all food produced ends up in the rubbish. By-products are mostly also dumped and valuable substances thus lost. The objective of TRANSBIO (www.transbio.eu), an EU-funded research project, is to transform waste from fruit and vegetable production into valuable products by means of biotechnological processes. Research service provider ttz Bremerhaven is a partner in this EU project (www.ttz-bremerhaven.de).
Sustainable resource management is one of the most important pillars for long-term business success. Many food-processing firms are therefore faced with the question of how to utilize their by-products. “Food biotechnology offers a wide variety of opportunities for the creation of economic and sustainable value added,” says Jessica Wildner, TRANSBIO Project Manager.
The TRANSBIO research project utilizes waste from fruit and vegetable production
In TRANSBIO, three biogenic products are extracted by means of microbiological fermentation processes from waste generated in the fruit and vegetable processing industry: succinic acid, enzymes and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). The aim is to use succinic acid in food processing. To produce the succinic acid, first of all the fermentable sugar contained in fruit and vegetables is made available for fermentation by means of cell disruption. In the next step, bacteria, yeast and fungi produce succinic acid. The acid is used for example in food or serves as a platform chemical. The enzymes recovered, primarily cellulases, proteases and lipases, become a component of natural detergents. PHB is the basis for many different types of plastics, for example in the (food) packaging industry.
Cultural and natural biodiversity through sustainable production methods
Within the TRANSBIO project, efficient and sustainable production and purification processes are being developed which encourage a holistic and environmentally conscious business approach, since preserving the diversity of biogenic substances is also one of the project’s goals. Economy is the priority which ttz Bremerhaven is supplementing through the political dimension at regional and European level: In the framework of the European REVERSE project (http://reverse.aquitaine.eu/), the service providers are fostering regional exchange in the area of biodiversity. At the end of the REVERSE project, there will be a guideline with recommendations for political decision-makers on what action to take.
What is used, does not die out: With its experience in the re-cultivation of old sorts of crop as well as the development of new processing technologies for traditional types, ttz Bremerhaven is making an important contribution to the transfer of know-how regarding the preservation of plant varieties by (re-)using them. Since pesticides and other toxins are partly a hindrance for the biotechnological processes in TRANSBIO, the project results can support land cultivation which is free of pesticides.
The TRANSBIO project will run for four years and is funded within the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission. The project’s total budget is € 4.026.840, of which € 2.989.465 is funded by the European Commission. Anyone interested in a regular update on the project results can register with ttz Bremerhaven for a newsletter which appears every six months.