Review and Assessment of Waste and Wastewater Treatment from Fruits and Vegetables Processing Industries in Greece
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The global fruit and vegetable processing industry is growing steadily due to the population growth, the adopted healthier eating patterns by consumers, and the advancements in supply chain management and production processes. The present study is focused on the investigation of the waste and wastewater treatment practices taking place in the Greek sector of processing and preserving fruit and vegetables through a detailed examination of eleven industrial units related to this specific industrial sector. Among these units, two were associated with tomato processing and nine with the processing of peaches and apricots. Moreover, aiming at adding value to the Greek fruits and vegetables processing sector, waste and byproducts valorisation opportunities were identified through a comprehensive literature review. Based on the recording of the existing situation in Greece, it was observed that all industrial units operate biological wastewater treatment plants mainly applying the activated sludge process. Food industrial waste by-products derived from the operation of the units were mainly given as feed (e.g. the plant residues) or exploited for the production of energy (e.g. the fruit kernels). In addition, based on literature review, it was obvious that industrial food waste valorisation comprises a research area that has attracted great deal of attention over the last years resulting in significant advancements. Considering the above, in order to add value to the Greek fruits and vegetables processing industry, waste valorisation can be considered including technologies to recover valuable compounds. However, more efforts are needed to prove that such practices can work at a commercial level and that all operational and manufacturing issues have been carefully considered.
KeywordsFruit and vegetable processing industry Tomato Peach Apricot Valorisation Wastewater Waste Greece
The authors would like to thank the European Social Fund and the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Cultures and Sports (Managing Authority) for funding the project: FOODINBIO/2915 entitled “Development of an innovative, compact system that combines biological treatment technologies for the sustainable and environmental management of organic waste streams that are produced from different types of food processing industries”, in the framework of the Operational Programme Educational and Lifelong Learning (NSRF 2007–2013).
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