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Brief Published: 16 Dec 2020

Shrimp-Waste Supplements

Shrimp shells are being used for supplements

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have engineered a way to turn shrimp waste into sustainable and nutrient-dense supplements, reports ingredients website Nutraingredients. According to a recent press statement released by the university, the new novel process can turn prawns and crab shells, as well as discarded branches (sometimes known as wood waste), into nutritional supplements and medicine.

Specifically, prawn and crab shells can be turned into L-DOPA, a drug that is widely used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Meanwhile, branches and wood waste can be converted into proline, which is essential for the formation of healthy collagen and cartilage.

 This initiative chimes well with the global drive to reduce food and food by-product waste, and if successfully implemented, could make a sizable dent in the amount of crustacean waste generated worldwide. The global food processing industry generates as much as eight million tonnes of crustacean shell waste annually (NUS, 2019), while Singapore generated more than 438,000 tonnes of wood waste last year alone, including branches pruned from trees and sawdust from workshops, according to news website Channel News Asia. 

 We’ve been tracking innovative ways to use food waste for some time on Stylus. See The Budget Food Opportunity, Rum Made with Banana Skins and Vegetable Waste is Being Used to Boost Materials.  

See also Trans-Industry Ingredients for more on the cross-industry potential of materials derived from food waste.