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Zest

Valorization of Agro-Industrial Waste through Fungi Fermentation supported by Digital Modeling

Project details

Type of project
Innovation Action - Demonstration
Project focus
Food, feed & cosmetics
Feedstock origin
Agri-food waste
Feedstock type
Crop residues
Project period
1 June 2024 - 31 May 2028
Status
In progress
CBE JU Contribution
€ 5 931 246,25
Call identifier
HORIZON-JU-CBE-2023

Summary

Traditional protein sources struggle to meet the global demand due to the ever-growing population and sustainability concerns. The ZEST project proposes an innovative solution to this challenge: harnessing fungi-based protein production technologies.  

The project focuses on optimising fermentation processes and using low-cost agricultural waste streams as feedstock to produce a variety of bio-based protein products, such as protein-enriched food and feed, as well as related bioproducts, including cosmetic ingredients.

ZEST will also foster a sustainable and secure food system in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy.  

  • Develop an efficient, zero-waste automatic production system.  
  • Design a multipurpose bioreactor adaptable to substrate with varying viscosities and dry matter content, while also integrating precise dosing systems into bioreactors for cascading use of filtrate.
  • Assess entire value chains to ascertain their economic viability, market potential, environmental impact, and sustainability of fungal-based products.
  • Identify candidate fungi species for mycoprotein production and optimise fungal fermentation processes to minimise bacterial contamination.
  • Develop a machine-learning model for predicting fermentation outcomes, implement a flexible control system for automatic parameter correction, as well as monitor and adjust mycelia production conditions for optimal yield and quality.
  • Extract mycoprotein and nutrients from mycelia biomass, improve product quality through post-processing techniques, explore cascading of residue/by-products for biomaterials, evaluate the functionality of extracted ingredients in food and pet food prototypes, and monitor waste production and energy consumption to meet sustainability goals.
  • Conduct safety, sustainability, and economic assessments, as well as share project findings to increase social acceptance, scale up mycoprotein production, develop a business model for market uptake, and operationalise the safe-and-sustainable-by-design framework for application in the project sectors. 

  • Tested downstream outputs for suitability as animal feed and food, increasing the use of plant-based proteins.
  • Use of industrial- and food-processing sidestreams for fungal fermentation, recirculation of nutrients, and waste valorisation, thereby reducing media costs for fermentation companies.
  • Blueprint for bioreactor tanks suitable for mycelia production, integrated into process lines and available for purchase by fermentation companies.
  • Economically feasible production and upcycling of mycelia proteins and functional carbohydrates for food and feed ingredients, sold competitively to end-users.
  • Web-based setup for data collection and modelling, integrated into a platform for enhanced implementation in research and industrial facilities.
  • Modular upscaling capacity customised for bioeconomy value chain actors, providing necessary processing lines and technical knowledge for industrialisation, benefiting other sectors and industries.
  • Influence on future legislation by advocating to policymakers and relevant authorities, reducing environmental impact and improving societal well-being.
  • Comprehensive framework for assessing environmental, technological, social, and economic aspects of bio-based value chains, supporting bioindustry development and bioeconomy deployment in Europe.
  • Documentation of product efficacy, safety, and socio-economic assessment to guide future scientific and societal activities. 

Consortium map

Project coordination

  • TEKNOLOGISK INSTITUT Taastrup, Denmark

Consortium

  • SENSIMATE APS KOBENHAVN NV, Denmark
  • SINONIN BIOTECH UG (HAFTUNGSBESCHRANKT) LANGWEDEL, Germany
  • FBCD AS Tjele, Denmark
  • FONDACIJA VIZLORE LABS NOVI SAD, Serbia
  • G. C. Hahn & Co. Stabilisierungstechnik GmbH LUEBECK, Germany
  • NORDZUCKER AG Braunschweig, Germany
  • MARTIN FRETTLOH Siegen, Germany
  • ACONDICIONAMIENTO TARRASENSE ASSOCIACION Terrassa, Spain
  • FUNDACION CORPORACION TECNOLOGICA DE ANDALUCIA Sevilla, Spain
  • BIOREACTORS.NET SIA Riga, Latvia
  • LATVIJAS VALSTS KOKSNES KIMIJAS INSTITUTS Riga, Latvia