CSIRO & Horticulture Innovation to study nutrient extraction
Australian vegetable research and marketing group, Horticulture Innovation, and the CSIRO are joining together for a new project to explore how nutrients can be extracted from imperfect produce.
John Lloyd, Chief Executive of Horticulture Innovation, said the project will investigate how nutrients can be drawn from carrots, broccoli and other vegetables.
“Limiting the amount of produce left in the field and offcuts cast aside during processing is a priority for industry because there’s so much potential there. On top of this, Australians are not eating enough vegetables,” he said.
“This project is addressing both these issues by determining a way we can turn underutilised produce – such as ‘ugly’ veggies that are not to specification – into high-value, super-high-nutrient ingredients and products,” he stated.
As part of the project, researchers will explore how they can use separation, extraction and stabilisation technology to create powders, concentrates and vegetable-dense snacks.
Dr Mary Ann Augustin, CSIRO Chief Research Scientist, said fermentation will also be a significant focus area of the research.
“Fermentation is a great natural way of delivering the good bacteria through food. We are investigating ways vegetables lost in the food supply can be processed and presented in a consumer-friendly manner because it has huge health benefits,” she said.
More processing plants needed
Dr Augustin said they will be looking at interest in establishing more processing plants with many farmers unable to afford to send ‘ugly’ produce far.
“We are also looking into the interest in setting up processing hubs in key growing regions to make it easier for growers to process their underutilised produce and create these high-value, nutrient-dense products.”
The project is due to be completed in late 2018, and is funded by Horticulture Innovation using the vegetable research and development levy and funds from the Australian Federal Government and the CSIRO.
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