From Food Loss to Pectin: Unlocking Hidden Value in Agricultural Byproducts

The project aims to address the significant issue of food loss in the agricultural sector in Lebanon by valorizing it, and thus mitigating its economic and environmental ramifications.

Food loss refers to the decrease in the quantity or quality of food at various stages of the supply chain, including production, post-harvest handling, processing, and distribution. Food loss can happen due to a variety of reasons such as spoilage, pests, weather conditions, inefficient supply chain management, and improper storage.

In Lebanon, food loss is primarily due to inadequate storage facilities, inefficient supply chain management, and damage during transportation caused by poor infrastructure and handling practices. Additionally, ban on agricultural exports to some Arab countries, political instability and economic challenges exacerbate these issues, leading to further inefficiencies and waste in the food supply chain.

Pectin is a natural polysaccharide found in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, commonly used as a gelling agent in food production, particularly in jams and jellies. It is valued for its ability to form gels when combined with sugar and acid, providing texture and stability to various food products. Additionally, pectin has dietary fiber properties, contributing to digestive health.

Our project aims to valorize food loss in Lebanon by developing a large-scale, multi-year initiative focused on extracting pectin from discarded crops or from waste in the fruit and vegetable processing industry.

Desired Disciplines

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