Saving waste in horticulture: optimising resources – 10 Nov 2017


Fruit - Saving waste in horticultureTomatoes, strawberries and other crops grown undercover are a rich source of active plant ingredients such as lycopene, anticyanins and isoflavones that are used in the cosmetic and health industries. A workshop hosted by NIAB will be reviewing the options for growers in the emerging bioeconomy on Friday 10th November during Agri-Tech East’s Agri-Tech Week 2017.

NIAB is a partner in the EU Interreg2Seas BioBoost project. It aims to support the horticulture industry exploit the benefits of the bioeconomy by using resources that would previously have been considered waste. The partners that include leading growers from the Lea Valley will implement regional test and pilot projects, to develop novel techniques, methods and products. There will also be focus on the commercialisation of innovation, with funding and business support for SMEs looking to take their products to market.

Dr Lydia Smith, Head of NIAB Innovation Farm and one of the speakers, says: “Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables offer a wealth of bioactives that are being used for anti-aging products, cancer prevention, natural colourings and nutritional enhancements. This is a valuable new market for the horticultural industry and allows offers an opportunity to use non-edible waste such as skins and stones. The workshop aims to scope out the prospects to accelerate the transition to a bioeconomy.”

NIAB has a pilot facility for the production of green pesticides from mushroom growth and soft fruit waste. Alongside this, NIAB will be looking at improving the quality of active plant ingredients in tomato and strawberry, such as lycopene, anticyanins and isoflavones that are used in the cosmetic and health industries. Agri-Tech Week aims to showcase different aspects of research and innovation happening across the region with REAP the flagship conference held on day 2.

Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-Tech East, comments: “Agri-Tech East was invited by NIAB to be a subcontractor in BioBoost and we have supported the project by mapping the supply chain. This has revealed many ways that plant resources can be used more productively. The workshop will allow this information to be shared and discussed from different perspectives.

“The NIAB event ties in with the theme of Agri-Tech Week’s flagship REAP conference, looking at our current knowledge and how it can be applied for a more profitable and sustainable future.”

BioBoost is a 3.5 year project, undertaken by scientists from industry and academia in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. The project is co-ordinated by leading horticulture centre – Westland – in the Netherlands.

Saving waste in horticulture: Optimising resources will take place from 10am-4pm at the Sophi Taylor Building, NIAB Park Farm, Villa Road, Histon, Cambridge. Speakers will include: Dr Gavin Milligan of the William Jackson Food Group, Dr Jean Fitzgerald of NIAB EMR, Dr Lydia Smith, Head of NIAB Innovation Farm and Dr An Callens of the University of Vives.

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