BBNet funds awarded

BIV 07: Assessing varied food manufacturer’s waste for further valorisation as industrial biotechnology feedstock

Project lead
James Winterburn
The University of Manchester

Unavoidable byproducts/wastes from food manufacturing could provide an important source of nutrients for fermentation process. Substitution of purified substrates typically used in industrial biotechnology could provide the increased market competitiveness needed by a number of sustainable products such as biopolymers and biosurfactants. Existing research on the valorisation of food manufacturing byproducts/wastes typically focused on streams with little variable. However, a significant portion of these waste streams exists as mixed wastes with significant daily variability.

Pro Pak Foods is a retorted ready meal manufacturer who make around 500,000 ready meals a week, which can lead to wastes with a highly variable content of raw and booked carbohydrates, proteins, fats, animal, and vegetable. In this collaboration with the University of Manchester, a varied range of food wastes will be subjected to a thermochemical and/or enzymatic treatments. The ability of the resulting hydrolysate stream to act as a source of sugars, fatty acids and/or nitrogen will then be assessed using a panel of microorganism producer of biopolymers/biosurfactants; with the aim of finding empirical relationships between the varying nature of the food wastes, the processing/treatment methods and the fermentation scheme/final product. The insights from this collaboration may allow industrial biotechnology to tap into an underutilised feedstock, whilst providing our industrial partner with a new avenue of valorising their unavoidable wastes.


Academic partner: James Winterburn, The University of Manchester

Industrial partner: David Raine, Pro Pak Foods Ltd

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