Reuse of plant origin by-products to improve the formulation and safety of fermented foods

M. Carmen Vidal Carou | Grup de Recerca Amines i Poliamines Bioactives dels Aliments (UB)

Over the last few decades, the industrial processing of plant-based foods has increased considerably in order to meet the growing demand for these products. This industrial sector generates a large amount of by-products such as bagasse, shells, seeds, leaves, etc., which can constitute up to 60% of the raw material processed and which, in most cases, is rejected and treated as waste. However, there is an increasing trend towards the valorisation of these by-products, as their high protein, fibre, lipid or polyphenol content makes them a potential alternative source of these substances for the food industry, while there is a growing demand in the market for more natural products.

The aim of the research group is to collaborate with companies in the development of strategies aimed at reducing food waste and achieving a circular economy model through efficient food processing. All the necessary equipment is available for the evaluation of the capacity of these by-products as ingredients in the formulation of fermented products: (I) to stimulate the growth of bacteria responsible for fermentation; (II) to increase or accelerate the decrease of pH; (III) to prevent or reduce the formation of biogenic amines. This also has a positive impact in terms of food safety, as some of these mechanisms are able to reduce the growth of bacterial species (Salmonella and Listeria, among others) that can pose a safety issue in these kind of products, while, at the same time, preventing spoilage of fermented foods. Furthermore, reusing plant by-products allows the industry responsible for them to reduce or save on the costs of managing and disposing of them.

Experience with companies

The solution is new and no collaboration with companies has been initiated yet. It is aimed at agri-food industries that generate plant by-products (bagasse, shells, seeds and leaves, etc.) and those producing fermented foods that want to meet the current demand for product formulations based on natural ingredients.

Are you interested in any of these solutions?