According tomedia reports, when shrimp in the seafood processing plant, the resulting waste water contains a lot of protein. Now scientists have devised a way to harvest the protein, which can be used as animal feed or human food. First of all, it should be noted that organic matter is removed from the wastewater before shrimp processing wastewater is discharged into the waterway. This is usually done by adding chemical additives called flocculants, which allow substances to come together.
The clumps then float to the surface, where they can be removed and collected in the form of sludge.
Unfortunately, however, the most commonly used flocculants are based on iron or other non-food grade compounds, so the harvested proteins are not suitable for consumption. Instead, it is either converted into biogas or thrown directly into landfills.
Another method is to use a permeable membrane to filter the organic matter in the water. However, this approach often clogs the equipment, which means that parts need to be replaced, and the reality is that replacement can be expensive.
In response, led by scientists Ingrid Undeland and Bita Forghani from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, the team turned to edible flocculants made from alginate and horned fork gum extracted from seaweed. Using these techniques, researchers can extract up to 98% of the protein from shrimp processing wastewater. When these extracts are dried and formed into powders, they contain up to 61% and 23% of the total lipids, respectively — lipids include fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.
Scientists believe the technology could easily expand its commercial use at low cost.
The study has been published in ACS Sustainable Research and Engineering.