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Monash turning waste into wealth

Monash UniversityMonash University’s School of Chemistry and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) have been working together with the Food Innovation Centre to discover new ways to give life to the food we throw out everyday.

More than $5.4 billion worth of food is dumped annually in Victoria alone and Monash want to turn Australia’s food waste into profits, using a holistic approach to ‘biomass valorisation’.

The team have been working on extracting high value components such as antioxidants, oils, pectin and protein from foods such as mango, pineapple skin and spent coffee grounds to make everyday health supplements, oils and even cosmetics.

Professor Tony Patti from Monash University said, “This biomass valorisation approach, looks at the entire fruit or vegetable and not just the part that is eaten or the juice extracted, that currently provides the value to the grower. The skins, seeds, kernels, leaves and off-cuts were seen as ‘waste’, adding to their disposal costs. These by-products are not waste, but a potential valuable resource, providing several components, identified as being of high market value.”

The Monash Food Innovation Centre wants to reduce, reuse, recycle and create revenue and they plan to do this by “working with Australian growers and businesses to diversify the potential market opportunities, including expansion into the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and pet food industries.”

“Using this research, food and agricultural companies can tackle costly waste challenges, improve their environmental footprint and create a sustainable business that takes full advantage of growing demand in domestic and export markets for high quality food products.”

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