The School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at The University of Adelaide has partnered with South Australian businesses to develop functional foods, and sustainably produced, high quality products.

Several projects funded under the Advanced Food Manufacturing (AFM) grants program are taking an innovative approach to develop new or improved food products or manufacturing processes and help drive greater innovation in South Australia’s food industries.

Advanced Food Manufacturing Grants are an initiative of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, through the South Australian Food Innovation Centre (SAFIC), in partnership with Food Innovation Australia Limited. The University of Adelaide is a Foundation Partner of SAFIC.

Discarded potato peelings and pulp created by potato product manufacturers could soon be turned into a Premium South Australian Vodka.

Anywhere from 10-30% of each potato processed for foods like fries, hash browns and crisps ends up as peel or pulp waste then becoming low value cattle feed.

Potatoes SA has partnered with researchers from the University of Adelaide and Adelaide Hills Distillery to understand the best way to use this waste and transform it into a premium quality beverage.

“We know how significant food loss is in horticulture, particularly in the potato industry, and are working hard to ensure all parts of the potatoes we grow are utilised,” Potatoes SA CEO Robbie Davis said.

The project to date has focused on optimising the sugar conversion, extraction, fermentation and distillation of various industrial potato waste streams including peel, pulp and starch waste water.

“We take the potato peel waste and investigate the best way to break down the starch into fermentable sugars,” said lead researcher Dr Richard Muhlack from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide.

“The next step is to complete some small batch trials with Adelaide Hills Distillery to obtain a spirit product.”

These spirits will then be assessed by sensory analysis here at the Waite campus. An expert panel will benchmark the aroma, flavour and taste properties of spirits against commercial products to see if they are of comparable quality.

“The aim is to provide industry with a means to transform waste into value-added products which will bring financial and environmental benefits.”

The project is due to be finalised by mid-2018.

This project was awarded $30,000 in Round 3 of the Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Advanced Food Manufacturing Grant Program (2017).

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