Scientists at Nofima are participating in a major EU-financed project in which “active” packaging based on raw materials from shrimp shell improves and conserves food products – and after use the packaging biodegrades. Environmentally stubborn plastic is getting competition from biodegradable packaging made of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shell.
Nofima’s part of the project equates to around NOK 1 million over a two-year period. Together with the coordinator, Italian company Mavi, the majority of the project involves four medium-sized companies in EU and three research centres.
“Our job is to ensure food contact safety in the project and quantify the effect on bacteria. Chitosan used as an integrated part of the packaging can have an antibacterial effect on the food products,” says Morten Sivertsvik, Director of Research at Nofima’s department for Processing Technology in Stavanger.
“The EU has strict regulations in this area, and our role is to see that the active packaging have a positive and not negative impact on the food products. The chitosan-based fibres that are used in the packaging are based on nanotechnology, so we are talking about minute particles that by no means have to break down so they come in the food products.”
Sivertsvik has worked on packaging technology at Nofima, Europe’s largest food research institute, since 1992.
Primex has introducted a microencapsulated version of its LipoSan Ultra that is designed for weight loss beverages.
The new and unique weight loss ingredient is an innovative development and line extension of Primex’s ordinary weight loss ingredient LipoSan Ultra, a patented product based on ChitoClear chitosan and succinic acid, which has an extraordinary ability to bind to dietary fat so it is not absorbed by the body.
The original product has been used as a food supplement for weight management. LipoSan Ultra chitosan is a dietary fiber and will as such improve the nutritional value of the functional food consumed, the company said.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Institute (DAFM) has announced a call for marine research projects relating to Food Innovation, Food Processing Technologies and Food for Health. Researchers in higher education institutions and research institutions and on the island of Ireland are invited to submit proposals under the Food Industry Research Measure (FIRM) in an initiative jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Marine Institute.
The recent announcement by DAFM for research proposals under the Food Industry Research Measure (FIRM) reflects the importance of maximizing Ireland’s potential to exploit the commercial potential of our natural resources. In a continuation of collaboration between DAFM and the Marine Institute to co-fund strategic research, this FIRM programme includes a dedicated call for marine origin foods research; seeking to build on the investment made by both parties to the marine functional foods research initiative – NutraMara.
The marine animal tunicate can be used both as biofuel and fish food, according to research from Norway. On the ocean floor, under the pier, and on ship ropes — that’s where the tunicates live. Tunicates are marine filter feeders that serve as bacteria eaters and as a foodstuff in Korea and Japan. But in the future they may become more prevalent.
Five researchers at the University of Bergen (UiB) and Uni Research have found that a certain type of tunicate — ascidiacea — can be used as a renewable source of biofuel and fish food. This is particularly good news for the growing aquaculture industry, which for years has struggled to find enough quality feed for its fish. There also is the prospect of reducing emissions from traffic.
In late March, the opening of two biofuel tilapia- based plants in the towns Jaguaribara and Morada Nova, in Vale do Jaguaribe, was announced.
The Jaguaribara plant is being implemented to solve the environmental problems generated by the disposal of fish waste, which is a big problem in the region, as the viscera is typically thrown onto the ground and can contaminate groundwater. The unit belonging to Morada Nova will produce biodiesel and ethanol.
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have identified a fish peptide, or protein, derived from Pacific cod that may inhibit prostate cancer and possibly other cancers from spreading, according to preclinical research published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The use of natural dietary products with anti-tumor activity is an important and emerging field of research,” says senior author Hafiz Ahmed, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and scientist at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET). “Understanding how these products work could allow us to develop foods that also act as cancer therapeutics and agents for immunotherapy.”
In many Asian countries, shrimp waste is converted to chitosan, a commercially valuable compound with a myriad of applications ranging from use as a biopesticide to biomedical solutions in tissue engineering, non-viral gene delivery and enzyme immobilisation. The problem is that European crustacean shells harbour higher levels of calcium carbonate, thus making the Asian approach unviable.
Now, an EU funded research project called ChiBio aims to convert crustacean shell waste into basic building blocks, or monomers, that would serve as precursors for plastics. Current industry standards rely on petroleum based sources to produce these materials. The project’s main goal is to “develop an integrated biorefinery for processing chitin rich biowaste to gain biobased monomers for the polymer industry,” says Lars Wiemann, who heads the project from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, in Straubing, Germany. He believes that the protocol used in the project could also be applied to other novel biogenic materials, such as insect carapaces or fungi.
New sports nutrition product launches containing a new hydrolyzed fish protein are imminent, says Bluewave Marine Ingredients as it brings its branded AminoMarine ingredient to market.
ABT recently announced its 2012 financial results. The Company had its commercial breakthrough in 2012 and posted revenues of NOK 20.3 million for the year. ABT’s revenues the year before were NOK 0.5 million.
Contracts with two US based customers are the main reason for the commercial success. Aqua Bio Technology’s lead ingredient Aquabeautine XL™ is now included in new skincare products being widely marketed.
Aqua Bio Technology’s EBITDA for 2012 ended at NOK 8.0 million, compared to NOK -8.1 million in 2011. The company’s net result for the year was NOK 0.9 million, against NOK -13.5 the previous year.
For the fourth quarter alone, ABT posted revenues of NOK 3.4 million and an EBITDA of NOK 0.2 million. Net result for the fourth quarter was NOK -2.7 million.
The contracts secure ABT total revenues of more than NOK 120 million in the period 2012-2017, in the form of exclusivity and minimum royalty payments for Aquabeautine XL™. Product sales are expected to provide additional revenues.
A new project is exploring means of turning fish waste into value-added products such as neutraceuticals while attempting to make fisheries a greener industry in developing countries.
Only about 50% of every fish sold as fillet is actually eaten. Often, fish heads, viscera, skin and bones are discarded. In this context, the SECUREFISH project, funded by the EU, aims at reducing the post-harvest waste in the fisheries sector while improving the overall environmental friendliness of fish processing in developing countries. “We use the waste products that include fish skin and bones and process the proteins through hydrolysis into bioactive peptides,” explains project co-ordinator Nazlin Howell, Professor of Food Biochemistry, University of Surrey, Guilford, UK.
Scientists have discovered that some of the bioactive peptides isolated from fish waste exhibit an activity akin to that of a class of blood pressure lowering drugs called ACE inhibitors. Others also exhibit antioxidant properties and might reduce reactive oxygen species in cells. Such activity could have implications for cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention. Howell tells youris.com “[these] could be put into [food] products such as yoghurt and milk drinks” due to their potential health benefits.