Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Food By-products Utilization (CIFU)
Recycling and green living have attracted wide public attention nowadays. Food processing has generated a large amount of food debris, including fruit peels, eggshells and coffee grounds, which are known as “food by-products”. These food by-products can be revitalized into valuable materials through applied research and innovative technology.
THEi has continued to develop its applied research capacity in the past few years more particularly around the strategic research theme of “Sustainability”. The establishment of this new research facility, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Food By-products Utilization (CIFU), aims to serve as a platform for talented staff members to engage in interdisciplinary research and sustainable development of food by-products, was officially unveiled on March 1, 2022 (the opening ceremony can be viewed here).
In addition, the CIFU provides opportunities for THEi students from different programmes to participate in various applied research projects, a shining example of the VTC’s commitment to integrating technology into teaching and learning, helping students to gain interdisciplinary knowledge and applied skills. The CIFU could serve as an incubation hub for students, academia and industry partners to pursue new technologies and inspire innovation through food by-products related research.
The CIFU consists of two research laboratories that provide an interdisciplinary applied research platform for edible and non-edible food by-products. The “Food By-products Revitalization Laboratory, FBRL” is mainly engaged in the research of edible by-products, such as the transformation of food by-products with high dietary fibre and protein to ingredients for healthy food. The “Food By-products Conversion Laboratory, FBCL” mainly focuses on converting non-edible food by-products into environmentally friendly materials by employing advanced equipment and technology.
- Refining food by-products for conversion to valuable, high dietary fibre and protein rich ingredients for healthy food and beverage production
- Extracting natural pigments from food by-products for natural edible food coloring and essence concentrate
- Extracting lignocellulosic materials for manufacturing and fabricating daily commodity
- Developing and characterizing novel microbial strains and fermentation strategies for revitalization of food by-products
- Evaluating consumers’ perception to revitalization of food by-products and their impacts on community and environment
The CIFU is funded by the Institutional Development Scheme (IDS) Research Infrastructure Grant of Research Grants Council, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No.: UGC/IDS(R)25/20).