Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Bioprocessing technologies, Bioproducts, Bio-derived novel materials

Publication Details

Presentation : Waste not Want not – Recovering Value from Food Waste, February 9th 2014. Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland.


Food waste presents significant concerns with respect to economical, environmental and food security issues. Roughly, one-third of global food production equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes per annum is wasted. EPA estimates that over 1 million tonnes of food waste is produced annually in Ireland. Common applications of food waste has been either direct disposal in landfill or as an animal feeds. In addition to the regulatory pressure of disposing food waste, there are significant opportunities for recovering a range of valuable compounds from food waste that could find valuable applications in the functional food and pharmaceutical sectors.

Numerous methods have been established to extract valuable bioactive compounds from food wastes; however, no single method could be regarded as a standard approach for extracting bioactive compounds because extraction methods are greatly directed by the food matrix under consideration and the bioactive compound to be extracted. To date, most of the extraction methods are based on solvent extraction, which impacts on cost, safety, health and the environment. The application of enzymes in bioactive extractions is a new approach that can hold a lot of promises and could also minimise the drawbacks of solvent extraction methodologies. Enzymes can be characterized as being highly specific, versatile and relatively cheaper than organic solvents, in addition to being effective at significantly small concentrations. Research in our lab is currently ongoing towards the optimization of enzyme-assisted extraction of three industrially important bioactives, namely β-glucans from Brewer’s spent grain, glycoalkaloids from potato peel and chitin from mushroom's waste.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) strategic research initiative administered by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.