Research Round-up: Danish project seeks to turn biowaste into protein supplement – The Post

Research Round-up: Danish project seeks to turn biowaste into protein supplement

In other news, teams from University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University are highlighting concerns about Cambodian forests and about cervical cancer

A mountain of potential human food source (photo: Envidan)
April 3rd, 2019 12:44 pm| by Christian W

Since the green biowaste dispensary bags were introduced in Copenhagen in 2017, tens of thousands of Danes have got on board and the initiative has turned into a roaring success.

Now, a new project run by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) seeks to utilise the initiative to develop technology to sustainably extract protein from the many tonnes of organic material collected to produce supplements for humans.

“Our idea is to combine existing technology that is already used in the production of biogas with new technology based on the gases and wastewater generated in biogas production,” said Panagiotis Tsapekos, a postdoc with DTU Environment who is part of the research project.

READ MORE: Copenhageners taking to the new system for sorting biowaste

Great potential
Aside from protein supplements for humans, the project also aims to produce feed for farm animals as a replacement for the less-sustainable alternatives that currently exist, such as soya beans and fishmeal.

The pilot project will be undertaken at the Renseanlæg Avedøre waste treating plant in co-operation with Unibio, Envidan and Biofos, and it will last about 1.5 years.

“There is great potential for a future with a more climate-friendly food production, if we succeed in using the new technologies to transform organic waste into proteins,” said Irina Angelidaki, the DTU professor leading the project.


Fish snacks in Cambodia
Two researchers from the Department of Sports and Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen have teamed up with UNICEF to develop a new fish-based product that could help alleviate undernourishment in Cambodia. The product is a crispy waffle with a nutritious filling enriched by Siamese mud carp and other dried fish from the local waterways of the Mekong River. The product is sustainable, affordable and customised to fit with local taste preferences. Figures show that 10 percent of all Cambodian children under 5 – about 200,000 kids – are seriously malnourished.

Tyres clearing forests in Cambodia
Research from the University of Copenhagen has documented that Cambodia’s forests are being cleared due to the increasing global demand for rubber. The Danish researchers used satellite imagery to map the forest clearing. Over the past 14 years, almost a quarter of the country’s tropical forests have been cleared to make room for rubber plantations. In fact, the extent of the forest clearing in Cambodia directly correlates to the global price of rubber – the demand of which has skyrocketed since 2000 due to immense growth in the Chinese tyre and car industry.

Elderly have higher cervical cancer risk
New research from Aarhus University has revealed that women over the age of 64 have a higher risk of dying of cervical cancer than previously believed. The researchers have discovered that the mortality rate of women aged over 64 with cervical cancer is actually 25-30 percent higher than previously anticipated. In fact, among women aged 75-79 it’s five times higher than among women aged 40-45. Moreover the age group in question is not covered by the Danish cervical cancer screening program and the researchers urge women to keep an eye on symptoms such as bleeding and altered discharge.

Kids not eating enough fish
According to figures from DTU, 80 percent of kids in Denmark eat fish at least once a week, but less than 10 percent eat the recommended amount. DTU discovered that about 50 percent of the 4 to 19-year-olds ate fish as part of a bread topping, while about a third ate fish as part of a heated main meal – the latter usually offering up larger portions – which mostly consisted of either salmon or fish cakes. According to the Fødevarestyrelsen food authority, people should eat 350 grams of fish on a weekly basis – equal to about 50 grams per 10 mega joules per day.