New products created from lobster leftovers

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

South Australian researchers are working with Adelaide-based lobster exporter Ferguson Australia in a bid to generate new products from lobster offcuts, thereby reducing wastage of the premium seafood product. The team, from Flinders University and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), has so far developed prototypes including lobster essence oil, protein powder and chitin.

Flinders PhD candidate Trung Nguyen, who is working on the project, said the extraction of lobster compounds uses cutting-edge advanced manufacturing processes such as supercritical CO2 extraction and microwave-assisted extraction, which produces a product that is of high purity while also being cost effective and environmentally sustainable. He said products such as lobster oil and protein powder could be used as functional ingredients in a range of foodstuffs, from stock bases to crackers, while the chitin could have a wide range of applications, from food and cosmetics to biomedicines, agriculture and the environment.

“The lobster-derived chitin, chitosan, could be used as a food preservative, a wound dressing to speed up the healing process or as a surgical glue to bind cuts and wounds,” he said.

L-R: Dr Stephen Pahl from SARDI, Andrew Ferguson from Ferguson Australia, Andrew Maronich, Raymond Tham from Flinders and Flinders PhD candidate Trung Nguyen.

Flinders Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development Manager Raymond Tham said the products can be created “in very large quantities using sustainable technologies”. The manufacturing process therefore provides “a real opportunity to make sure none of our high-value seafood is ever wasted”, he said, enabling the production of new products that “currently do not exist on the global market”.

Ferguson Australia Managing Director Andrew Ferguson added that the process will allow the company to reduce its waste management costs and improve environmental and resource sustainability. Sending lobster waste to landfill carries a high cost for both business and the environment, he said - now, the products created from such waste will have “a higher retail value and longer shelf life to reach wider export markets”.


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