According to the European legislation, the disposal of animal by-products is not a realistic option, as it would lead to unsustainable costs and risks for the environment. Conversely, there is a clear interest that, provided the health risks are minimised, a wide range of animal by-products are safely used for various applications in a sustainable manner. Indeed, a number of animal by-products are commonly used in important production sectors, such as the pharmaceutical, feed and cosmetic industries. Exploitation of FBPD is therefore very important for the Blue Economy as a whole, as these can result in products with high added value and at the same time there will be multiple and significant environmental benefits. In accordance with the EU legislation, it is appropriate for the collection and disposal system to take into account the actual quantity of animal by-products collected in the Member State concerned, so VIOAXIOPIO is moving in that direction.
OKAA will coordinate WP1 “Development of collection network, raw material collection, preservation and transfer”. There are three potential sources of raw material for the production of HAVB from FBPD in Greece:
- Animal by-products (ABP) eventually not sold at the 10 landing sites of OKAA (~ 700 tons).
- Discarded catches (the term refers to the percentage of unwanted catches that after arriving on board are subsequently discarded at sea due to non-market value) (~ 11,000 tons),
- ABP after processing of fish in the commercial and man manufacturing chain (~ 12,000 tons).
These sources will be sorted by geographic area, month, species and size (where possible), drawing on data from the National Fisheries Data Collection Framework Program. HCMR will estimate the chemical composition (total protein, total fat, moisture and inorganic salts) and scales output (as a source of collagen) of the main species constituting the discarded fish, as well as the chemical composition of the by-products (offal and heads) from the commercial and processing chain for the approximately 30 main species consumed in the Greek market and their output in scales will be assessed, while the main volume of ABPs will be recorded at the 10 fish landing sites and at the main fish markets (Athens and Thessaloniki). Thus, a database will be created to allow the Project Team to make decisions on the potential of production of HAVB by season and region. At the same time, all retail outlets will be registered (selected super markets, fish markets, public markets, restaurants) in Athens and Thessaloniki where they process fish, as well as all processing and craft processing units that will process fish and will be correlated with ABP quantities generated per geographical area. Then, logistics will be planned for the transfer of raw material (ABP) to potential treatment and production sites. In WP1, the choice of the appropriate separation and maintenance process of FBPD will be explored according to the product and its properties, such as a) silage (hydrolysis), b) cooling of the by-products and c) brine maintenance. For each produced HAVB, a suitable method of maintaining the raw material will be selected in order to help increase its added value.
NKUA-PHARM will be responsible for WP2 “Production of collagen and its derivatives”, that concerns the development and optimization of the production methodology of gelatin, hydrolysed collagen and collagen peptides from FBPD (whole) or parts of fish (heads, skin, scales) which will be collected and stored under appropriate conditions until processed. Also, optimization of the method for production of acid-soluble collagen and collagen peptides from fish scales will be optimized.
HCMR will co-ordinate WP3 “Production of fatty acids, minerals-trace elements”. It will develop and optimize the methodology for the production of fatty acids and minerals from FBPD, by varying the duration and use of silage solutions (and combination of proteolytic enzymes) of the raw material.
CMFO will coordinate WP4 “Rescaling of processes”. In cooperation with its partners, OKAA will compile information and knowledge from the first three WPs. Thus, once the spatio-temporal database has been created (quantities, species, geographical and seasonal distribution, fishing fleet) for each product produced in WP2 and WP3, processes will be rescaled, depending on the prevailing infrastructure scenarios for the use of FBPD. Based on the expected quantities, production lines for gelatine, various forms of collagen, fatty acids and minerals-trace elements will be designed and proposed and the equipment and facilities required and their dimensions will be determined. For each HAVB to be studied, a report will be created on equipment, building facilities and production protocols suitable for each FBPD.