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Teagasc at BTYSTE: Reducing food waste


Teagasc is at the virtual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2022. Teagasc Researchers Muireann Egan and Catriona Boyle tell us about the research work of Teagasc horticultural scientists and food scientists in reducing food waste. You can visit the Teagasc stand here too

The leafy vegetables like spinach we enjoy for our dinner have a high water content, which means that they can go off quickly and tend to be thrown away, contributing to food waste. Plastic-based packaging can help spinach last longer but we all know that synthetic plastics are not good for the environment. Researchers at Teagasc are tackling this problem in two different ways.

Our horticulture scientists are working on bio-based products – which use materials from living organisms, such as plants and other agricultural substances – that can be applied to spinach leaves while they grow. Spinach leaves continue to respire (or breathe) after they are harvested, which builds-up moisture and allows mould, fungi and bacteria to grow. These bio-based products will reduce respiration and give the spinach a longer shelf life.

Teagasc food scientists are developing new ways to preserve spinach and other fruit and vegetables using drying technologies. Drying is one of the oldest methods of food preservation and advances in technologies like freeze drying allows us to extract and create valuable ingredients from fruit and vegetables. These dried products can then be used in healthy, ready to eat snacks, breakfast cereals and yoghurts.

Find out more from Lael & Lorraine, who talk about their research project “Leaf No Waste” in the video below.

Article by Muireann Egan and Catriona Boyle

Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities in Ireland.

Every year we have a stand at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE). BTYSTE 2022 takes place from January 12th to 14th. The Teagasc Virtual Stand can be visited at BTYSTE 2022 here.

We also have a Teagasc prize, awarded to the student project in the main exhibition area that best demonstrates a thorough understanding of the science of agricultural or food production, or the use of science to improve technologies available to agricultural or food production.

Follow the story on social media @BTYSTE #BTYSTE2022 https://btyoungscientist.com/