Escola Superior de Biotecnologia

Project transforms cereal surpluses into new high-value products for human and animal consumption

Sunday, June 03, 2022 - 11:40

Every year, tons of cereal residues are wasted or treated so that they can be channeled into animal feed. This situation may change after the results of the Co-CerealValue project, which made it possible to transform these residues into new products for human consumption with high nutritional value. Co-CerealValue is a 100% Portuguese project that results from a consortium between Silos de Leixões (the entity that leads the project) and the company Germen, responsible for milling the cereals, in partnership with the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia of Universidade Católica in Porto and the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI). The project results were presented on 27th April.

The deficit in cereal production is a chronic factor in Portugal. Price volatility, the free movement of goods and the specialization of production at a global level have created high risks of interdependence. At the same time, the agri-food sector is heavily affected by pressure from waste disposal costs, environmental regulations and concerns about environmental degradation. Companies must innovate in their processes in order to apply the concept of Circular Economy and, therefore, need to review their strategies and define policies that establish beneficial relationships between companies that are part of an industrial ecosystem. This way, the sector's sustainability can be achieved through the use and valorization of waste from the activities of another company, thus creating a synergistic relationship and mentoring zero waste.

In this context, the Co-CerealValue project made it possible to develop innovative products for human (Food), rich in fibers, proteins and antioxidants, and for animals (Feed) based on the valorization of by-products from the processing and storage of cereals, but also to develop a smart-object that monitors the value chain, allowing the control of the quality of the raw material during the entire transport (from the port of origin to the final destination), guaranteeing its safety and integrity throughout the process.

“The cereal sector generates a large amount of by-products, which still maintain in their composition a source of nutrients and bioactive compounds, which well managed can once again have added value and contribute with economic and environmental benefits for producers/processors and benefits of health for the consumer,” explains Manuela Pintado, researcher and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF) at the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto. “The reuse of these by-products was a significant asset, as it allowed human food to be enriched with nutritious ingredients that can bring health benefits, and that come from natural sources,” adds Ana Maria Gomes, also a researcher at the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF).

Ema Dias, responsible for Quality and R&D at GERMEN – Moagem de Cereais S.A., adds that “the transformation of cereals into flour annually generates around 20 thousand tons of by-products of great nutritional value and which are currently sent to animal feed. We are talking about wheat germ and bran that contribute two essential nutrients to human nutrition: fiber and protein. Co-CerealValue made it possible to value these by-products, developing products or functional formulas with unique market claims,” adding “we bring together protein and fiber in a single product, without added sugars, which can be applied in breakfast cereals, bars energy drinks, granola, among others”.

Nuno Fernandes, general director of Silos de Leixões, explains that “the Co-CerealValue project was developed to enhance the existing hub, already benefiting from the synergies and installed capacity, and allowed the development of a smart sensor in response to the need to control the temperature of agri-foodstuffs in facilities that do not have thermometric control.” Using its skills in the field of Industry 4.0, a research team from INEGI developed the smart-object capable of continuously measuring the temperature of cereals and flours stored in large silos. Measurements are transmitted via a wireless protocol to a central server, integrated with a logistics monitoring system. “With this sensor, it is possible to identify and prevent contamination and other problems within the volume of stored cereal, in areas that were hitherto inaccessible, improving traceability and reducing food waste” explains António Baptista, coordinating researcher at INEGI. An innovative approach was also developed, in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the University of Cambridge, called SymbioSPOTS, for the evaluation of complex Industrial Symbioses, including logistical synergies. This approach combines the mapping of surpluses with the assessment of their potential for economic recovery and sustained reduction of environmental impacts.

 

At the Seminar “Co-CerealValue: Circular Economy, Industrial Symbiosis and the Cereals Supply Chain”, which took place on April 27, Deolinda Silva (Executive Director of PortugalFoods) moderated a roundtable that was attended by Gisela Santos (Director of the Industrial Management and Engineering Group at INEGI), Luís Ramos (Administrator of Germen - Cereal Milling), Ana Maria Gomes (Researcher at the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry / ESB/UCP), Luísa Magalhães (Executive Director of Smartwaste) and Miguel Tomé (Operations Director of Silos de Leixões). Participants also had the opportunity to learn about the main results of the project through an exhibition where the new products were presented.

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Every year, tons of cereal residues are wasted or treated so that they can be channeled into animal feed. This situation may change after the results of the Co-CerealValue project, which made it possible to transform these residues into new products for human consumption with high nutritional value. Co-CerealValue is a 100% Portuguese project that results from a consortium between Silos de Leixões (the entity that leads the project) and the company Germen, responsible for milling the cereals, in partnership with the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia of Universidade Católica in Porto and the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI). The project results were presented on 27th April.

The deficit in cereal production is a chronic factor in Portugal. Price volatility, the free movement of goods and the specialization of production at a global level have created high risks of interdependence. At the same time, the agri-food sector is heavily affected by pressure from waste disposal costs, environmental regulations and concerns about environmental degradation. Companies must innovate in their processes in order to apply the concept of Circular Economy and, therefore, need to review their strategies and define policies that establish beneficial relationships between companies that are part of an industrial ecosystem. This way, the sector's sustainability can be achieved through the use and valorization of waste from the activities of another company, thus creating a synergistic relationship and mentoring zero waste.

In this context, the Co-CerealValue project made it possible to develop innovative products for human (Food), rich in fibers, proteins and antioxidants, and for animals (Feed) based on the valorization of by-products from the processing and storage of cereals, but also to develop a smart-object that monitors the value chain, allowing the control of the quality of the raw material during the entire transport (from the port of origin to the final destination), guaranteeing its safety and integrity throughout the process.

“The cereal sector generates a large amount of by-products, which still maintain in their composition a source of nutrients and bioactive compounds, which well managed can once again have added value and contribute with economic and environmental benefits for producers/processors and benefits of health for the consumer,” explains Manuela Pintado, researcher and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF) at the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto. “The reuse of these by-products was a significant asset, as it allowed human food to be enriched with nutritious ingredients that can bring health benefits, and that come from natural sources,” adds Ana Maria Gomes, also a researcher at the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF).

Ema Dias, responsible for Quality and R&D at GERMEN – Moagem de Cereais S.A., adds that “the transformation of cereals into flour annually generates around 20 thousand tons of by-products of great nutritional value and which are currently sent to animal feed. We are talking about wheat germ and bran that contribute two essential nutrients to human nutrition: fiber and protein. Co-CerealValue made it possible to value these by-products, developing products or functional formulas with unique market claims,” adding “we bring together protein and fiber in a single product, without added sugars, which can be applied in breakfast cereals, bars energy drinks, granola, among others”.

Nuno Fernandes, general director of Silos de Leixões, explains that “the Co-CerealValue project was developed to enhance the existing hub, already benefiting from the synergies and installed capacity, and allowed the development of a smart sensor in response to the need to control the temperature of agri-foodstuffs in facilities that do not have thermometric control.” Using its skills in the field of Industry 4.0, a research team from INEGI developed the smart-object capable of continuously measuring the temperature of cereals and flours stored in large silos. Measurements are transmitted via a wireless protocol to a central server, integrated with a logistics monitoring system. “With this sensor, it is possible to identify and prevent contamination and other problems within the volume of stored cereal, in areas that were hitherto inaccessible, improving traceability and reducing food waste” explains António Baptista, coordinating researcher at INEGI. An innovative approach was also developed, in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the University of Cambridge, called SymbioSPOTS, for the evaluation of complex Industrial Symbioses, including logistical synergies. This approach combines the mapping of surpluses with the assessment of their potential for economic recovery and sustained reduction of environmental impacts.

 

At the Seminar “Co-CerealValue: Circular Economy, Industrial Symbiosis and the Cereals Supply Chain”, which took place on April 27, Deolinda Silva (Executive Director of PortugalFoods) moderated a roundtable that was attended by Gisela Santos (Director of the Industrial Management and Engineering Group at INEGI), Luís Ramos (Administrator of Germen - Cereal Milling), Ana Maria Gomes (Researcher at the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry / ESB/UCP), Luísa Magalhães (Executive Director of Smartwaste) and Miguel Tomé (Operations Director of Silos de Leixões). Participants also had the opportunity to learn about the main results of the project through an exhibition where the new products were presented.

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Every year, tons of cereal residues are wasted or treated so that they can be channeled into animal feed. This situation may change after the results of the Co-CerealValue project, which made it possible to transform these residues into new products for human consumption with high nutritional value. Co-CerealValue is a 100% Portuguese project that results from a consortium between Silos de Leixões (the entity that leads the project) and the company Germen, responsible for milling the cereals, in partnership with the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia of Universidade Católica in Porto and the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI). The project results were presented on 27th April.

The deficit in cereal production is a chronic factor in Portugal. Price volatility, the free movement of goods and the specialization of production at a global level have created high risks of interdependence. At the same time, the agri-food sector is heavily affected by pressure from waste disposal costs, environmental regulations and concerns about environmental degradation. Companies must innovate in their processes in order to apply the concept of Circular Economy and, therefore, need to review their strategies and define policies that establish beneficial relationships between companies that are part of an industrial ecosystem. This way, the sector's sustainability can be achieved through the use and valorization of waste from the activities of another company, thus creating a synergistic relationship and mentoring zero waste.

In this context, the Co-CerealValue project made it possible to develop innovative products for human (Food), rich in fibers, proteins and antioxidants, and for animals (Feed) based on the valorization of by-products from the processing and storage of cereals, but also to develop a smart-object that monitors the value chain, allowing the control of the quality of the raw material during the entire transport (from the port of origin to the final destination), guaranteeing its safety and integrity throughout the process.

“The cereal sector generates a large amount of by-products, which still maintain in their composition a source of nutrients and bioactive compounds, which well managed can once again have added value and contribute with economic and environmental benefits for producers/processors and benefits of health for the consumer,” explains Manuela Pintado, researcher and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF) at the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto. “The reuse of these by-products was a significant asset, as it allowed human food to be enriched with nutritious ingredients that can bring health benefits, and that come from natural sources,” adds Ana Maria Gomes, also a researcher at the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF).

Ema Dias, responsible for Quality and R&D at GERMEN – Moagem de Cereais S.A., adds that “the transformation of cereals into flour annually generates around 20 thousand tons of by-products of great nutritional value and which are currently sent to animal feed. We are talking about wheat germ and bran that contribute two essential nutrients to human nutrition: fiber and protein. Co-CerealValue made it possible to value these by-products, developing products or functional formulas with unique market claims,” adding “we bring together protein and fiber in a single product, without added sugars, which can be applied in breakfast cereals, bars energy drinks, granola, among others”.

Nuno Fernandes, general director of Silos de Leixões, explains that “the Co-CerealValue project was developed to enhance the existing hub, already benefiting from the synergies and installed capacity, and allowed the development of a smart sensor in response to the need to control the temperature of agri-foodstuffs in facilities that do not have thermometric control.” Using its skills in the field of Industry 4.0, a research team from INEGI developed the smart-object capable of continuously measuring the temperature of cereals and flours stored in large silos. Measurements are transmitted via a wireless protocol to a central server, integrated with a logistics monitoring system. “With this sensor, it is possible to identify and prevent contamination and other problems within the volume of stored cereal, in areas that were hitherto inaccessible, improving traceability and reducing food waste” explains António Baptista, coordinating researcher at INEGI. An innovative approach was also developed, in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the University of Cambridge, called SymbioSPOTS, for the evaluation of complex Industrial Symbioses, including logistical synergies. This approach combines the mapping of surpluses with the assessment of their potential for economic recovery and sustained reduction of environmental impacts.

 

At the Seminar “Co-CerealValue: Circular Economy, Industrial Symbiosis and the Cereals Supply Chain”, which took place on April 27, Deolinda Silva (Executive Director of PortugalFoods) moderated a roundtable that was attended by Gisela Santos (Director of the Industrial Management and Engineering Group at INEGI), Luís Ramos (Administrator of Germen - Cereal Milling), Ana Maria Gomes (Researcher at the Center for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry / ESB/UCP), Luísa Magalhães (Executive Director of Smartwaste) and Miguel Tomé (Operations Director of Silos de Leixões). Participants also had the opportunity to learn about the main results of the project through an exhibition where the new products were presented.

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