doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.164 Published online 15 December 2016
Researchers have developed a new method to extract lipids from food waste that could be used to make biodiesel1.
Rapid urbanization and industrialization forces us to constantly accumulate solid wastes that pollute the environment. A significant proportion of this is food waste, which is difficult to dispose of.
In search of a way to reuse such food waste, scientists from the National Institute of Technology in Rourkela, Odisha collected food scraps from a hostel. They removed the water from the waste by drying it at 105 degrees Celsius. Using organic solvents, various lipids were extracted from the dried waste. These fatty acids were predominantly palmitic and oleic acids, indicating that the waste has great potential to yield biodiesel.
The food waste also contained metals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc that could have applications in the pharma industry. The waste also showed traces of chromium and copper.
Food waste is a free resource that can be recycled in an eco-friendly manner, thus increasing energy production and reducing landfill demands, the researchers say.
1. Barik, S. et al. Potential reuse of kitchen food waste. J. Chem. Environ. Eng. 5, 196-204 (2016)