- Available Technologies
Approximately one-half of agricultural produce in the US is wasted before it even reaches the consumers' tables. The inedible portion of those foods, such as stems, peels, and seeds, ends up as waste materials due to being unsuitable for packaged food distribution, poor consumer acceptance, and high vulnerability for spoilage. These types of food wastes typically occur in farmers' fields, food processing centers, and food distribution channels all the way to grocery stores. In order to combat agricultural waste sustainably, this invention demonstrates how the inedible portions of fruits and vegetables can be converted to fiber, protein, and micronutrient-rich powder (flour) by using kale and collards as examples. The resulting powder (flour) is a sugar-free source of dietary fiber (50-60%), a rich source of proteins (15-25%), and mineral and vitamin micronutrients (10-15%). The unique method allows for the preservation or enhancement of nutritional value, and the resulting powder (flour) can be applied to a variety of food, feed, and supplement applications. As the global dietary fiber market is growing rapidly, partly to compensate for dietary fiber losses in the food value chain, a unique opportunity exists to convert those fruits and vegetable materials for high-value dietary fiber (and other nutrient) production for food application.
Food industry, animal feed, supplement applications
This novel method is ready to scale up in any fruits and vegetables processing facility to convert unused, unspoiled food parts into a fine powder in three steps: (1) cutting those stems or fruit/vegetable parts into smaller pieces, (2) drying them to remove moisture, and (3) grinding into fine powder. Current methods of converting plant materials into powder include freeze drying, spray drying, and other methods are capital intensive, expensive, and cannot be scalable for large quantity operations. The new method is not only the least expensive option available, but also preserves the nutritional value of raw materials and is scalable to millions of metric tons operations.
Dr. Dil Thavarajah, Ashley Rawl
Business Development Associate
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