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Should I Choose Conventional or Emerging Technologies for Food Waste Recovery?

By: , Posted on: November 24, 2015

Today, researchers consider food wastes as a source of valuable compounds such as dietary fibers, flavonoids, polyphenols, glucosinolates, anthocyanins, proteins and enzymes. This ambition generated by the fact that the current processing methodologies allow the recovery of target compounds and their re-utilization inside food chain as additives, supplements or food fortification. However, the labelled products derived from food wastes are few compared to the plethora of investigations in the field, patented methodologies and proposed scenarios. So, what are the obstacles of making this trend really happen?

We can find different answers following the most relevant aspects of the applied technologies. For instance, energy efficiency of conventional techniques is not so high and respective cost is not low enough to extract compounds that exist in lower concentrations inside by-products compared to the initial substrate (i.e. whole fruits or vegetables). In addition, traditional thermal processes such as concentration, drum or spray drying may cause enzymatic or non-enzymatic deterioration of the target compounds, loss of their functionality and diminution of the final product’s organoleptic characteristics. In many cases, conventional extraction is restricted due to the non-food grade nature of the used solvents. Target compounds such as antioxidants may not be stable in the shelf due to the inefficient encapsulation of the final product. Besides, consumers are and always will be sceptical about the safety of products derived from by-products or food wastes.

The yield of the applied technologies, the scale up boundaries, the safety of the final products and the overall cost are the most important parameters governing the industrialization of recovery processes. Nowadays, improving process efficiency during food manufacturing focuses on minimised cost. The latest is typically conducted by reducing processing steps, enhancing throughput, restricting overall energy consumption and optimizing plant design. Emerging and typically non-thermal technologies (e.g. radio-frequency drying, electro-osmotic dewatering, cold plasma treatment, high-hydrostatic pressure, ultrasound-assisted extraction, laser ablation, high voltage electrical discharge, pulsed electric field, nanoencapsulation, etc) promise to overcome the obstacles of conventional techniques by claiming increased recovery yield and reduced processing time, optimized heat and mass transfer that results in lower operation cost, gentle treatment of food waste matrix and control of unwanted Maillard by-products, advanced encapsulation and ultimately improved functionality of antioxidants.

Despite these promising advantages, the implementation of emerging technologies in the recovery downstream processing is still under debate. Emerging technologies possess not only advantages, but also disadvantages that concern mainly the product safety, especially in the case of the most advanced techniques. For example, the cells membrane permeability of cold plasma or nanotechnology and their effect on biological matrices remain un-investigated yet. Other emerging technologies may be too sophisticated for their implementation in the field, as they require high capital cost and energy overconsumption compared to the additional value induced by the increase in the extraction yield.

In any case, researchers and professionals of the food industry will soon deal with the prospect of applying emerging technologies and particularly nano-techniques with an ultimate goal to optimize overall efficiency of suggested methodologies. Besides, the market and consumers demand for tailored-made products will lead producers to adapt sooner or later some of these technologies. This status will definitely reopen debate concerning the safety of products recovered from food wastes and the impact (beneficial or not) of recycling them inside food chain. Further research on the field would supply technical feedback to reduce operation cost and set up minimal processing. Likewise, it would provide safety assessments in order to establish methodology and satisfy consumer claims for healthier and tastier products.

About the Book

Food Waste Recovery: Processing Technologies and Industrial Techniques acts as a guide to recover valuable components of food by-products and recycle them inside the food chain, in an economic and sustainable way. The book investigates all the relevant recovery issues and compares different techniques to help you advance your research and develop new applications. Strong coverage of the different technologies is included, while keeping a balance between the characteristics of current conventional and emerging technologies. This is an essential reference for research outcomes. Click here for figures as they relate to the development and recovery strategy.

Key features of the book include:

food waste recovery• Presents a holistic methodology (the so-called “5-Stages Universal Recovery Process”) and a general approach (the so-called “Universal Recovery Strategy”) to ensure optimized management of the available technologies and recapture of different high added-value compounds from any waste source
• Includes characteristics, safety and cost issues of conventional and emerging technologies, the benefits of their application in industry, and commercialized applications of real market products
• Demonstrates all aspects of the recovery process such as preservation of the substrate, yield optimization, preservation of functionality of the target compounds during processing, and more

Visit the Elsevier Store to purchase your copy today. Use discount code “STC215″ at checkout and save up to 30%!

About the Editor

charis galanakisCharis M. Galanakis is a dynamic and interdisciplinary scientist with a fast-expanding work that balances between food and environment, industry and academia. His research targets mainly the separation and recovery of functional macro- and micro-molecules from different food by-products, as well as their implementation as additives in food and other products. He is the research & innovation director of Galanakis Laboratories (Chania, Greece), the co-founder of Phenoliv AB (Lund, Sweden) and the coordinator of Special Interest Group 5 of ISEKI Food Association (Vienna, Austria), which is the biggest network worldwide in the field of Food Waste Recovery. He serves as an editorial board member and subject editor of Food and Bioproducts Processing and Food Research International.

Follow Dr. Galanakis via Twitter – @CharisGalanakis, LinkedIn or ResearchGate.
Meet Dr. Galanakis at the Food Waste Recovery Workshop, join the Food Waste Recovery & Innovation 2020 group on LinkedIn or the Food Waste Recovery Page on Facebook.

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Food Science & Nutrition

The field of food science is highly interdisciplinary, spanning areas of chemistry, engineering, biology, and many more. Researchers in these areas achieve fundamental advances in our understanding of agriculture, nutrition, and food-borne illness, and develop new technologies, like food processing methods and packaging material. Against a backdrop of global issues of food supply and regulation, this important work is supported by Elsevier’s catalog of books, eBooks, and journals in food science, considered essential resources for students, instructors, and health professionals worldwide. Learn more about our Food Science and Nutrition books here.