AZTI-Tecnalia has confirmed the nutritional and health viability of various vegetable by-products to be used as animal feed, by-products which are currently being managed as waste. Fruit, vegetables, potatoes, coffee and bread left overs can be turned into animal feed, once they have left the commercial circuit.
The research is part of the Clean Feed project funded by the European Union's Life+ Programme and co-funded by the Basque Government (Spain). The main objective of the project is to take vegetable wastes from the retailing and food industry sectors, which for commercial reasons are not for human consumption and reuse them for animal feeding. The participants are AZTI-Tecnalia, a marine and food research institute, the Basque Government Directorate of Food Innovation and Industry, the Industrial Systems Unit of Tecnalia Research and Innovation, and Elika Foundation, the Basque Foundation for Agri-food Safety.
A significant percentage of the approximately 25,000 tonnes of vegetable by-products produced in the Basque Autonomous Community is managed as waste. In this framework and in order to add value to these by-products, AZTI-Tecnalia leads the Clean Feed project, which has recently completed its second phase. Once the vegetal by-products that fulfil legal and technical requirements for animal feeding were identified, the experts tried out a range of drying technologies for turning vegetable by-products into meal. According to their estimations 70% of above mentioned 25,000 tonnes could be used as animal feed.
Apart from the environmental benefits, the Clean Feed project will boost the animal feed sector by developing new raw material for fodder. The initiative is also seeking to reduce the huge dependence the animal feed sector has on cereals such as soy and wheat, which have high market fluctuations and are not produced locally (mostly produced in South America).
The vegetable by-products that AZTI-Tecnalia has selected for the project are: fruit, vegetables and potatoes left overs produced by processing and retail sectors; coffee bean husks from roasting plants; bread scraps from the bakery sector; apple pomace and peel from cider production; and skins and stalks from wine production.
Three technologies for meal production
AZTI-Tecnalia researchers have successfully tried out three technologies to dry the above-mentioned by-products and turn them into feed meal. The used technologies were: (i) atomization by pulse combustion dryer; (ii) forced air ovens (in static and rotatory mode); and (iii) microwaves, alone or in combination with hot airflow.
Furthermore, from the health and nutrition analyses carried out on the obtained feed meals, it has been concluded that all of the samples are suitable for incorporation into fodder formulas. The nutritional viability of the feed has been analysed together with the Basque Association of Manufacturers of Compound Feed (EPEA). Meanwhile the health viability has been studied in collaboration with Elika Foundation, the expert body in food safety.