Nutritech - Rethinking the Food Chain

Scientists developed protein and skin care products from fish filleting and rapeseed oil pressing residues

27.4.2015 10:00

Food industry co-streams which could be upgraded to more valuable products than the original ones are ending up as animal feed. In the APROPOS project, scientists developed gentle methods to make better use of fish filleting and rapeseed oil pressing residues. The international project succeeded in creating new technologies for the production of items such as skin care products and dietary supplements, which could provide business opportunities for SMEs operating in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.

“Superb final results can be achieved by applying fairly simple production methods. The idea of the project was to develop technologies based on which all parts of a raw material can be used, without leaving any waste. In this project, the aim was not to produce fractions of high purity, but to develop methods for achieving practical results beneficial to both the producer and the final product. Several technologies, product prototypes and ideas were developed for use by companies,” says Raija Lantto, Head of Research Area at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and coordinator of the EU-financed APROPOS project.

Valuable products from rapeseed oil pressing residue

Press cakes from rapeseed oil production are currently used as feed. In the APROPOS project, gentle enzyme-aided processing methods were developed by VTT and the German research institute IGV to enable 50% recovery of the protein from cold-pressed rapeseed cake. Instead of aiming at highest possible protein content the project succeeded in generating a fraction rich in protein and fiber, with much higher stability for example in drinks than could be achieved using a pure rapeseed protein isolate. Water-saving enzyme-assisted processes, which help to avoid the expensive drying phase of the material, were found more cost-efficient than the common water-intensive extraction processes.

Bioactive characteristics of rapeseed fractions were defined by The Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), who discovered anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in peptide-phenol extracts produced by VTT. The extracts were successfully tested by two Catalonian companies producing skin care creams and medicinal wound dressings. By using an ultrasound-based encapsulation method developed by UPC, the peptide-phenol extracts could be modified into an emulsion in which the brownish-yellow color of the extract was avoided.

Protein supplement for East-African population from Nile perch

The Nile perch is an East-African export product. Today, the oil from its filleting residues is already extracted for use as fuel for cooking, and utilization of the protein could provide additional raw material value. It is estimated that more than 90% of the East-African population lives without a sufficient daily protein intake. In the project, the Norwegian research center SINTEF developed a pilot-scale manufacturing process by which fish filleting residue can be used to manufacture protein-rich dietary supplements meeting African taste preferences and packaged in portion-size packets.

The APROPOS project 2012–2014

The EU-financed APROPOS project (7th Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement no. 289170) involved 17 partners:

Research partners: VTT, SINTEF (Norway), The Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Spain), IGV (Germany), Aleksandras Stulginskis University (Lithuania), Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network (Canada), The Energy Research Institute (India) and University of Nairobi (Kenya). Raw material producers: Kankaisten Öljykasvit (Finland), Kroppenstedter Ölmühle Walter Döpelheuer (Saksa). Fisheries processes: Nutrimar (Norway), Sybimar (Finland), Mecpro Heavy Engineering (India). End users of extracts: True Cosmetics, Textil Planas Oliveras (Spain), Lasting Solutions (Uganda). Dissemination: Ecofoster (Finland).

For more information:

Raija Lantto,
Katariina Rommi,

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