Reprocessing under-utilised onion waste

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Food and Nutritional Sciences


Among vegetables, onion is the second most widely consumed crop, providing a relatively high value raw material for food industries. There are very large quantities of onion waste across current value chain (>6M tons in the Europe) which currently remain under exploited. The substantial amount of waste thus reduces the economic efficiency of the onion supply chain while also increasing the carbon footprint and environmental impact. The efficient food production with total usage of agricultural raw materials offers a wealth of opportunities for developing a smart circular economy. This proposal aims to develop technical understanding towards valorising onion side-streams using novel process technologies in order to create structuring ingredients and natural flavours, and to improve sustainability of the agro-food sector, thereby creating high economic value for the food sector.
1. Map key onion waste/side streams across Europe, including an evaluation of stabilisation strategies, logistics and transport.
2. Tailor current methods and explore novel technologies for optimising the extraction, creation, stabilisation and application of functional biomaterials from onion waste/side streams
3. Understand how structuring properties are affected by onion fibre composition and can be maximized via suitable physicochemical modifications (e.g. via hydrothermal treatment, shear activation, etc, and/or scope new technologies)
Major Skills/Techniques PhD student will be trained on
Separation science & technology
Biotransformation of vegetable waste stream (enzymology/fermentation)
Bio-refinery concept including LCA modelling
General food chemistry/biochemistry


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/R506023/1 30/09/2018 22/03/2023
2106309 Studentship BB/R506023/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022 Benjamin Robinson