Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Conversion of environmentally-unfriendly onion waste in food ingredients

As much of the information is subject to IPR assessment, the following provides a description of the project as outlined in the original document.

Conversion of environmentally-unfriendly onion waste into food ingredients

Environmental problem
Approximately 450,000 tonnes of onion waste are produced annually in Europe, mainly from UK, Holland and Spain. The waste is not suitable for fodder due to the strong aroma; disposal commonly involves landfill (15-40 ECU per tonne). This is often environmentally unsuitable due to the rapid growth of polyopathogens e.g.. Sclerotium cepivorum (white rot). The is considerable interest from onion producers and processor in the development of alternative means of disposal, particularly exploitation of the waste for the profitable production of food-grade products. The potential food-grade products that could be produced are:

- Cell-wall-derived materials e.g. dietary fibre (soluble and insoluble), and soluble pectic polysaccharides.
- Flavour volatizes.

This project has the overall aim of exploring (pre-competitively) approaches for converting environmentally-unfriendly onion waste into such products.

Principle Objectives
- To reduce the environmental impact of onion waste disposal by converting waste streams into useful products resulting in low-waste food production;
- To optimize existing, and to develop new processes for extracting and tailoring onion flavours; adapt for extraction from waste;
- To develop combination processes for the extraction/isolation and modification of pectins and dietary fibre (DF) from onion waste;
- To exploit the unique properties of onion parenchyma for producing fibre supplements suitable for texturally sensitive foods.

Expected results.
- Assessment of major types of onion waste as potential source of food ingredients.
- Methodologies for separation of onion tissue types in waste streams.
- Optimization of methods for flavour volatile production.
- Improved methods for extraction of onions flavour volatilize.
- Provision of soluble and insoluble fibre supplements for texturally-sensitive foods.

Reported by

Institute of food research
Norwich Research Park
NR4.7VA Norfolk
United Kingdom
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