CHALLENGE

Current European agricultural production systems heavily depend on protein imports to cover the nutritional needs of aquaculture, livestock production and human consumption. This situation is especially valid for the Mediterranean Region, where drought and ecological deficits are worsening the self-sufficiency of traditional protein supply chains. There is an urgent need for the EU for efficient, viable and locally produced alternative protein sources.

PROJECT DETAILS

Solution

Most agricultural farming systems produce a high quantity of livestock and crop residues, as well as a variety of side-streams.

It is estimated that every year 27% of agricultural production is constituted by non-utilized by product 1.6 billion tons of biomass globally, that has an estimated value of 750 billion US$. Similarly, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. These losses represent a big pool of untapped and underrated resources.

CIPROMED aims to apply, validate and scale up an integrated array of processes, recovering a significant amount of this biomass.

The use of proteins from agri-industrial side-streams (e.g., brewer’s spent grain, oilseed presscakes), fractions of insects, microalgae and legume biomass will be tested whilst fermentative sources will successfully enhance the availability of alternative proteins.

TYPES OF SOLUTION

Recovered protein concentrates will be integrated with animal production, aquaculture, and used directly for human consumption.
Insects, microalgae, agri-industrial streams, and legumes will be integrated into food and feed based on circular economy attributes.
Extraction, modification, formulation and novel processing techniques will be used to ensure the economically and environmentally sustainable production of high-value proteins.
Insect farming is a promising alternative nutrient source for animal feed and human consumption.
Legumes like lupins and faba beans are rich in proteins and can be promising sources for food and feed.
Microalgal protein has a valuable nutritional amino acid profile and can grow autotrophically, heterotrophically, or mixotrophically using organic carbon sources from agri-food residues.
Fermentation technology can be used to assist in tunning protein functionality and provide operational circular economy attributes.

OUTCOMES & IMPACT

ΕXPECTED OUTCOMES

  • Aims to reduce the dependency of the Mediterranean countries on imported protein sources and will help the participating countries to rely more on locally produced nutrient sources.

  • Aims to adjust novel protein production to the unique Mediterranean conditions, creating a new, socio-economically feasible and environmentally sustainable alternative protein value chain and production system located in Mediterranean countries.

  • Will elicit consumer perceptions/preferences around the new types of foods and feeds in the Mediterranean Region, considering also the unique religious and cultural characteristics and demographic differences of each participating country.

  • Will focus on the improvement of human health by designing and evaluating alternative proteins-based diets that will target metabolic and immune systems and promote human health.

In contrast to conventional agriculture, the production of the most common commercially reared insect and heterotrophic microalgaespecies on by-product feeds is characterised by considerably low GHG emissions (30-50% lower), having, therefore, a lower environmental impact and contribution to global warming.

Mediterranean countries will have to switch to farming systems with more efficient use of natural resources.

The CIPROMED consortium comprises 17 partners from ten countries including eight industrial and eight research partners. CIPROMED brings
together different experts from Biotechnology, Agriculture, Aquaculture, Food Engineering and Food Production, and reaches societies through broad exploitation of the results, aiming at ensuring the availability of recovered protein sources to cover the nutritional needs of aquaculture, livestock production and human consumption within the Mediterranean Region and beyond.