Major Chinese-European collaboration begins to find high-value, eco-friendly uses for agri-food residues

On Friday 29th March 2024, 13 Chinese academic and industrial organisations met in Beijing, China to officially begin their involvement in the AgriLoop project. Over the next three years, they will work together with another 22 partners from across Europe to develop sustainable processes to convert agri-food residues into high-value products and accelerate the move to more sustainable, circular agriculture.

This major international collaboration will find new uses for agri-residues -which account for around 50% of the fresh weight of harvested crops – as a currently underexploited resource for both Europe and China. The AgriLoop project will develop sustainable integrated processes in a cascading biorefinery approach to convert agri-food residues (from tomato, soy, straw, potato, brewery, , winery and livestock sectors etc) into high-value, eco-friendly products such as plant and microbial proteins, polyesters and other bio-based chemicals for use in food, feed, health and material applications, especially by the agricultural sector.

This project will strengthen European and Chinese cooperation and open up new avenues for flexible, agri-based value chains, enabling the consortium to join forces to increase agricultural sustainability, grow the bioeconomy and tackle climate change and plastic pollution.

To ensure that Chinese partners provide the range of knowledge, skills and facilities needed to meet the project’s ambitions, they include both academic and private partners, ranging from SMEs up to larger organisations, namely: Huazhong Agricultural University, Beijing Technology and Business University, Institute of Food Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IFST-CAAS), Shandong Jinsheng Cereals & Oils Foods Co. Ltd, Sichuan Runge Biology Science And Technology Co., Ltd, Beijing Long Age AMMS Biological Technology CO. LTD , Nankai University, Hebei NACOL Biotechnology Co., Ltd , Biogas Institute of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Shandong Youhe Biotechnology Co., Ltd, SDIC Zhonglu Juice Co. Ltd and the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, CAAS.

Professor Aimin Shi, Research Fellow from IFST-CAAS and Chinese Project Coordinator said;

“It is great news that the National Key Research and Development Program of China from the Ministry of Science and Technology has approved this project. It reaffirms the commitment to strengthen European and Chinese cooperation on important global issues such as looking for alternatives for agricultural waste and the new opportunities that will bring for the food, feed and packaging sectors across the world.”

Professor Nathalie Gontard, Director of Research at the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment and European Coordinator of the project added:

“I am delighted the Chinese partners are now officially part of the project. We will continue to build upon our collaborative research aims to bring significant economic, environmental and societal benefits to the partners, regions and stakeholders that are involved.”

After the Chinese kick-off meeting, to further strengthen the collaboration between China and Europe, High-value Utilization of Functional Components of Agricultural organic Waste Symposium was held by the partners in work package 2 of AgriLoop. This was chaired by Hui Hu, Associate Professor of IFST-CAAS and Chinese work package 2 Leader and Annalisa Tassoni, Professor of University of Bologna and European work package 2 Leader.

Work package 2 is committed to developing a comprehensive, flexible and scaleable upstream protein and chemical component recovery and extraction process, establishing a predictive data-driven model of conformational relationships and a database to optimise the extraction and optimisation process, and hoped that both sides would be in close synergy and carry out more fruitful work.

You can follow the projects process of social media (X and LinkedIn).