A major challenge in the valorisation and re-use of AgriFood sidestreams is the continuity and quality of feedstock supply. Currently massive amounts of biomass side-streams come available discontinuously and degrade before they can be processed, especially during peaks in the harvest season. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is looking for partners who want to cooperate in developing various stabilization and preservation solutions for agricultural sidestreams such as the addition of antimicrobial cultures, bark extracts, ethanol and organic acids.
With the growing demand of society, and desire of industry, to manufacture more sustainable and biobased products, AgriFood industries are looking closer to their side-streams as potential source for high-value products. For practical use of these side-streams, especially for production of daily consumer products, the year-round availability and stability of these streams is THE challenge that needs to be addressed. The current practice of many primary AgriFood producers is to get rid of their sidestreams as soon as possible to avoid massive rotting of these sidestreams and reduce the risk of infection/spoilage of their valuable AgriFood products, despite the promising opportunities as biobased resources. A lot of R&D is being done on processing relatively homogeneous feedstock into a wide range of low and high grade products, but limited efforts are being done on creating a solid, stable and continuous base raw material.
Biomass preservation methods
WFBR offers benign solutions that are effective and can be executed on-site for various volumes/quantities of sidestreams, ranging from the regular farm to the large-scale AgroFood processing companies. In this project we aim to develop low-cost solutions to stabilize and conserve these side-streams such that these:
- Have a controlled and stable quality
- Can be further processed into valuable products in a more cost effective way over longer periods of time
- Components do not degrade and maintain their functionality
This results in more suitable feedstocks for the biobased industry, longer processing time requiring lower production capacity and therefore less production cost and thus a highly improved business case. Tested additions are: antimicrobial cultures, bark extracts, ethanol and organic acids. Antimicrobial/antifungal cultures for in-situ fermentation have been successfully tried in food and crop protection, bark extracts are known for its antimicrobial compounds and antioxidants, the use of ethanol and organic acids are well-known to preserve food and drinks.
Invitation to collaborate
This consortium is open for participation for partners across the supply chain but in particular owners of AgriFood sidestreams or other types of biomass. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can specify desired biomass types for research, support in technology development and provide direction to the research activities leading to concrete useable solutions. We would like to develop feasible strategies with a broad consortium for a number of feedstocks. Participants can join the consortium by investing € 5000 in-cash and € 5000 in-kind each year for the project duration of three years.
Unfortunately we are not able to reply to solicitations from research institutes or enquiries from students related to this project.