Future trends

This chapter has presented some utilisation possibilities for the wastes and co-products being generated by the food industry. Remarkable development is expected with the introduction of genetically modified microorganisms, where certain enzyme activities are 'tailored' according to the substrate to be converted. Another possibility to enhance the effectiveness of biocatalytic processes in waste conversion is to apply hybrid systems, where a fermentation or enzymatic reaction is coupled with, for example, a separation step, such as an extraction or membrane technique (Belafi-Bako and Gubicza, 2000) - as mentioned in polysaccharide hydrolysis. Thus, the footprint of the technologies can be reduced, implying lower investment cost, etc. Regarding the usage of the valuable product obtained, it is surely beneficial if the product formed from food industrial waste could also be applied in the food processes, i.e. it is kept in the same sector. A possible example of this is galacturonic acid obtained from extracted sugar beet pulp, which can then be used as an acidifying agent in foods.

These types of utilisation have, however, always had limitations. The best possible way would be to use waste-free processing technologies. Although it is not often feasible, in some areas waste and co-product formation can be almost completely avoided. An example of this is a special fruit juice processing method called 'total liquefaction'. The concept is to achieve a complete breakdown of the fruit cell walls using cellulases and hemicellulases in addition to pectolytic degradations (Tucker and Woods, 1998). In this way, a high yield can be achieved, pressing is no longer required since all the pulp becomes juice and there is virtually no residue. Of course this kind of process cannot be applied in many areas, however it is very important to search for and to find similar, waste-free processes in the food industry.

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