Categories
AgTech Investments

Agri-Innovation Center in Southern Israel

Arieli Capital has signed a cooperation agreement with Ramat Negev Regional Council and Ramat Negev Industries, for the establishment of an agri-tech innovation center, within the jurisdiction of the regional council in southern Israel. The objective of the innovation centre is to expand the economic potential of the region’s agricultural sector and the agricultural research and development capabilities developed in the region in recent decades.

$5 million will be invested in the project. The center will focus on areas of expertise of the region including general agriculture, desert agriculture, marine agriculture, medical cannabis and more. The Eilat Technology Center (ETC), a subsidiary of Arieli Capital will take the lead in this venture, with the participation of the Ramat Negev Regional Council and other investors.

Ramat Hanegev is one of the largest and most successful agricultural regions in Israel. It covers 1.050 million acres and accounts for about 22 percent of Israel’s total land area. 

5 to 10 promising startups will be selected by senior officials in the agricultural and investment fields to participate in the center’s ag-tech accelerator. Entrepreneurs will be offered several assistance options including financial support and mentoring by technology and business experts from the agriculture and food industries, access to labs, and R&D facilities with the overseeing of the commercialization process.

Read more at Globes

Categories
Food Loss/Waste

10 most commonly produced products out of food waste

The idea of extracting valuable ingredients from waste products and processing by-products is not a new one but new extraction technologies and increasing demand for natural ingredients could open up new avenues for extracting value-added ingredients. Now-a-days, food wastes are considered as a cheap source of valuable components. Exploitation of the entire plant tissue could have economic benefits to producers.

As more legal requirements are implemented, the food industry will be increasingly obligated to prevent waste. The French penalty system (which fines supermarkets for wastage) and Italian incentive system (which rewards them for donating surplus food) actively encourages waste prevention. Similarly, National Environment Agency, Singapore, launched a S$1.76 million food waste fund. The fund aims to help organisations subsidise the cost of installing food waste treatments solutions.

Let’s have a look at 10 most commonly produced products out of food waste:

  1. Juices

A carrot may have two legs, an apple might be dimpled, a cucumber might be slightly discolored — all of this leads to ‘rejectsʼin the food system. Approximately, one-third of a farmerʼs total harvest is lost due to the aesthetic standards of retailers. Contrary to popular perception, these rejected fruits and vegetables (based on aesthetic standards) are as fresh and delicious as their perfect counterparts. By sourcing these misfit fruits and vegetables, companies are developing sustainable juice and beverage production business.

  1. Fruit flour from seed, skin and pomace of fruits

Gluten-free foods could benefit from highly fibrous fruit flours developed from the by-product of juice and cider production. These by-product flours are high in dietary fibre and have high antioxidant properties. Eg. for the gluten-free bread, rice flour and potato starch is blended with the fruit flour and for extruded snacks fruit flour is mixed with maize flour. The blending is done to balance the taste impacts as well as provide key structural requirements needed for gluten-free bakery and snacks products

  1. Antimicrobial and Antioxidant foods
  • Cranberry pomace, a by-product of the juicing process, may be extruded to produce a range of polyphenol-rich ingredients for use in supplements or functional foods. The resulting product could be incorporated into a dietary supplement or explored as a functional snack food. Cranberry has long been considered an effective method of fighting urinary tract infections
  • Antimicrobial and antioxidant potential of ethanolic extract of mango seeds can be used to enhance the shelf life and to increase the antioxidant capacity of fresh-cut mango
  • Phenolic extracts from olive oil mill waste can be used as alternatives to synthetic antioxidants in order to increase the stability of foods. Disposal of olive oil mill waste causes serious environmental problems, as many of its constituents are not easily degradable
  • Onion wastes are an interesting source of phytochemicals, sulphurous compounds and natural antioxidants. Brown skin shows a high concentration of quercetin, aglycone and calcium. Outer scales could be used as source of flavonols, with good antioxidant activity and dietary fibre content 
  • Antioxidant waste from the soy industry could offer a cheap and healthy alternative to synthetic antioxidants that prolong the shelf life of food. The appreciable concentrations of flavonoids, along with phenolic acids and other antioxidant phytochemicals present in soybean might be responsible for their free radical-scavenging activity
  • Industrial by-products from tomato processing contain a significant amount of bioactive compounds that could be used to provide natural and sustainable source of antioxidants for functional food formulation, or to act as preservative ingredients in foods
  • Similar to wine and grape juice, which are known to contain natural antioxidants, up to 50% remain in the waste material left behind when the skins, stems and seeds are filtered
  1. Pectin
  • Each ton of dry cocoa bean produces ten tonnes of cocoa pod husk waste. An average of 10 grams of pectin could be extracted from every 100 grams of husk by-product. This way for each ton of dry cocoa bean production, one tonne of pectin could be extracted from the husk waste. Extraction of pectins from the main by-product of cocoa production would not only help to reduce the costs of the production of cocoa products but would also manage the disposal of this waste in an environmental friendly manner through the use of a natural and safe food additive
  • Waste orange peel is an excellent example of a wasted resource. By volume, half the orange fruit is left as waste once the juice has been recovered. Use of technology could allow the generation of valuable food ingredients like pectin on large scale. The ‘greenʼ approach could help dispose of waste products whilst also turning a profit.
  • Potato pulp is an underutilized material produced in large quantities by potato starch factories. Potato waste could provide ‘new generation’ of food ingredients like pectin. Extraction method promises large-scale extraction of potato fibres rich in pectin and functional hydrocolloids.
  1. Enzymes
  • Through solid state fermentation, it is possible to develop a multi-enzyme solution rich in glucoamylase and protease from waste bread. In the last two decades, solid state fermentation has attracted interest in western countries due to its advantages in the production of secondary metabolites, and production of novel foods. 
  • Waste from pineapple processing could provide a range of value added ingredients for the food industry, including a new source of the enzyme bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that is usually extracted from the stems or juice of pineapples. It has been used commercially in the food industry, dietary supplements, and the cosmetics industry – where it is known for meat tenderising, brewing, baking, and for the production of protein hydrolysates, among other things. Waste portions provides a significant yield of the enzyme with peel supplying between 29 and 40% by weight.
  1. High protein High fiber flour
  • Dried distillers grain, produced during ethanol processing has until now only found use in animal feed. The flour produced is a high protein, high fibre (36% protein and 40% fibre) ingredient that could be used as a substitute flour in a number of food applications
  • Peanut meal is the defatted, low-value, byproduct of commercial peanut oil production. Advances in enzyme technologies, coupled with new technologies to remove aflatoxin, may offer a way to produce the by-product meal, which is an excellent source of protein (containing between 45–55%).
  • Mushroom waste can boost fibre and lower glycaemic response in extruded snacks. Stalks and basal clumps retrieved from spent mushroom compost can be refined as a freeze dried powder called mushroom co-product material (MCM). The inclusion of MCM significantly increase the amount of total dietary fibre (TDF) in the extruded snacks
  1. Textiles

Forget about cotton, we could be making textiles from banana, pineapple and coconut.

  • Banana fibre: The fabric is claimed to be nearly carbon neutral and have soft texture. The material is having application in making jackets, skirts and trousers.
  • Pineapple fibre: It is used as an alternative to petroleum-based textiles. The greatest thing is that itʼs made of leaf fibres, a byproduct of the pineapple harvest. The industrial process used to produce pineapple fibre also produces biomass, which can be converted into a bio-fertiliser  and the fibre is also biodegradable.
  • Coconut fibre: A thousand coconuts can produce 10 kg of fibre. A blend of fibre with polyester is particularly good choice for sportswear
  1. Fuel and Fertilizer
  • Organic waste from companies food processing plant can be converted into a renewable natural gas. Organic waste from the plant is converted into biogas through Anaerobic Digestion process. The biogas is then purified to become renewable natural gas which can be used in the same was as conventional natural gas. The renewable natural gas displaces conventional natural gas which is used to support the energy needs of the plant operation. 
  • In addition, a high-quality fertilizer is produced as a byproduct which in turn is used to support healthy growth of local vegetation.
  1.  Molds

The designer custom-made molds with a mixture of agricultural byproducts and mushroom mycelium, can result in lightweight, biodegradable lamp shades. Mycelium is introduced into a mixture of chopped up corn stalks and seed husks, and begins to spread its white fibers and digest it. Once coated in mycelium, the mixture is broken up into particles, which can easily be packed into molds, and left to grow for a few days until it forms a completely solid structure

  1. Fats

Seed waste may be source of new fats. Fat from seed kernel ‘waste productsʼ could provide the food industry with a new source of edible oils. Eg. rambutan seed kernels provide a considerable yield of fat with high arachidonic acid content and that makes the fat highly stable to oxidation. Because of these physical and chemical characteristics, rambutan kernel fat is perfectly suited for the cosmetic and food industries. The increasing demand for oils and fats, whether for human consumption or for industrial purposes, necessitates the search for new sources of novel oils and fats. Fat extraction from seed waste could be as high as 37% by weight.

Categories
AgTech Blockchain

Blockchain for Food and Agriculture

Blockchain is an emerging technology allowing universal transactions among distributed parties, without the need of intermediaries. Blockchain is not a single technology but uses a combination of technologies that have a considerable history in computer science and in commercial applications like public/private key cryptography, cryptographic hash functions, database technologies especially distributed databases, consensus algorithms, and decentralised processing. Blockchain could pave way for a transparent supply chain of food, by facilitating the sharing of data between disparate actors in a food value chain.

Despite huge positives of the technology and the great interest it has received from public and private parties in general, some critical questions like accessibility, governance, technical aspects, policies, data ownership and regulatory frameworks need to be addressesed for its mass adoption.

Some common ways in which blockchain is applied in food and agriculture value chains are

Supply Chain Traceability: It enables companies to quickly track unsafe products back to their source and see where else they have been distributed. This can prevent illness and save lives, as well as reducing the cost of product recalls.

Example: Aglive – An Australian livestock tracking platform, has completed a pilot that monitored shipments of beef to China using blockchain. The pilot saw cattle tracked from Macka’s cattle farm in regional New South Wales to an abattoir located in the same state. From there, frozen beef products were tracked across the supply chain as the meat was transported by land freight interstate to Queensland, and then shipped to Shanghai — ensuring that the products were stored under safe conditions throughout transit. The products were then distributed to grocery stores in Shanghai.

Agricultural Commodities Trade: Commodities management involves deal documents, contracts, letters of credit, supply chain finance, traceability and government certifications. Blockchain is enabling these data management challenges and payment time lags.

Example: AgriDigital – A blockchain-based and integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry.

Digital Marketplace: Digital marketplaces allow buyers and growers to connect directly, increasing the amount of profits that go to the farmers, and investors to invest directly into farms producing commodities and then trade on that investment.

Example: Twiga Foods Ltd – The company, buys fresh produce from 17,000 farmers and processed food from manufacturers and then delivers it to 8,000 vendors, most of whom are women.

Categories
AgTech Protein

The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta to Invest $1.25m

Radicle Growth, an acceleration fund, and Syngenta, a leading agriculture company announced the launch of The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta to support the future of protein. Innovative protein sources are increasingly important for a growing population. Companies with novel solutions in protein industry like new protein sources or protein conversion technologies can apply. A $1m investment will be made in the Challenge winner and a $250k investment to the second-place winner. Applications are open through May 29, 2020.

Radicle Growth selects innovative ag and food tech start-ups for investment, ensuring that powerful, disruptive technologies reach their full potential, while Syngenta is a leading science-based agtech company with world-class science to protect crops and improve seeds.

Read more at BusinessWire

Categories
AgTech Food Loss/Waste

World Changing Ideas 2020 included Full Harvest and Food Rescue Hero

Full Harvest is the winner of the food category in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards. It’s a B2B company, with a tech platform that allows buyers—online retailers, cafes and juice bars, and sellers—farmers—to connect over the imperfect foods that are “surplus” or “ugly”. Full Harvest’s method has increased some farms’ yields by up to 30%, and their profit per acre by up to 12%.

According to the EPA’s estimates, every year, 20 billion pounds of produce goes to waste because of cosmetic reasons, while 41 million people in the U.S. struggle with hunger.

Food Rescue Hero is the winner of the apps category in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards. It’s the app that facilitates the process of connecting food to the people who need it. Its work has been powered by volunteers, who deliver food from restaurants and grocery stores to various charities and NGOs that serve people facing food insecurity, operating on the principle that everyone has a right to healthy food.

Categories
Veterinary

Modern Animal, a California startup ready to disrupt Veterinarian business

Modern Animal calls itself a new kind of veterinary clinic for animals and their humans. Steve Eidelman, founder and CEO of Modern Animal, is out to disrupt the veterinary business. Eidelman explains, “We have a system that’s broken, not supporting the consumer in a way all these other industries are. We don’t have a thriving profession”. The average clinic looks ugly, it stinks, wait times are long the staff usually isn’t friendly and the phone is ringing nonstop. The customer experience is not particularly good in a veterinary clinic, and even worse, working as a veterinarian is fraught with difficulties. That’s a threat to all animals in the long term.

Modern Animal proposes to fix all those shortcoming with its first clinic in West Hollywood. It doesn’t look like any veterinary clinic you’ve seen. The Modern Animal clinic is literally transparent, with pet owners able to see all the way from the street to the back of the clinic. Modern Animal requires a membership costing $100 a year. That membership gives the pet owner full access, including 24/7 access via telemedicine.

“Does an animal need this? No, but you do.”

Read more at Forbes

Categories
Uncategorized

Changing the fate of tons of fruit waste

Reducing waste in the fruit industry and taking care of the environment has been a central goal of the industry worldwide, and Chile’s new biodegradable plastic has been developed to further those efforts. The innovation – called NatPol – was created through a fermentation process in which scientists transformed fruit residue into plastics. Using waste and residue from agricultural products, researchers were able to create a plastic container that adheres to industry packing standards, makes production processes in packing more efficient and provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics.

Read more at FreshFruitPortal