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Meet the University Researchers Tackling Our Global Food Waste Crisis

Meet the University Researchers Tackling Our Global Food Waste Crisis main image

Sponsored by The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK)

If you’re interested in working on research that has the ability to change our world for the better, there are few challenges more pressing than the vast amounts of food which is wasted or thrown away every year. According to recent estimates, roughly one third of the food produced for human consumption - approximately 1.3 billion tonnes - is lost or wasted every year.

These figures are particularly distressing when one considers how many people - particularly in developing countries - suffer from hunger or malnutrition. So, it’s no surprise that the world’s brightest policymakers and scientists have attempted to find solutions.

Think you’d like to know more about the groundbreaking research happening in this area? We spoke to The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) to learn more about the work their scientists are doing to find an innovative new use for leftovers.

From food waste to fish feed

Image: Fish feeds produced from food waste

Researchers at EdUHK have been working on a way to take food waste that would usually end up in landfill and transform it into low-cost, nutritious fish feed pellets, to be used in the aquaculture industry.

Made exclusively from recycled food, the pellets contain the same level of protein as commercial fish feed, providing an ecologically sound and commercially viable alternative.

The feed was tested in a year-long scientific study at a fish farm in Hong Kong, with the results published in international journals such as Aquaculture International, Science of the Total Environment and Environmental Pollution.

Heading the project is Professor Wong Ming-hung, Advisor (Environmental Science) at EdUHK. He said: “Fish feed pellets made from food waste can be a viable alternative to manufactured fish feed as the primary protein source for cultured fish. We have found that fish raised in this way are also safer to consume.”

Image: Laboratory-scale fish feeding trial

To improve fish health, Professor Wong’s team incorporates residue left over from decocting Chinese herbal medicines, such as goji berries, into the pellets. Enzymes are also added to make the feed easier to digest. The pellets have been sold to local fish farmers raising freshwater, plant-eating fish. This new environmentally friendly fish-farming option has been well received because it is affordable and results in good quality fish.

Professor Wong’s work hasn’t stopped there though. With two patents pending, he has already started work on creating fish pellets which contain enough protein for predatory fish species.

Exciting, innovative studies like this are just one of the many benefits of studying at a research-focused institution like EdUHK. Apart from Professor Wong’s projects, EdUHK has conducted various knowledge transfer projects in collaboration with government agencies and intergovernmental organisations, including the World Bank, UNESCO, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union.

In June, the University set up a State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution. Endorsed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the laboratory conducts pioneering research and provides research-based professional advice on various local and global problems, including marine pollution.

Want to learn more about the research projects at EdUHK and how you could apply to study here? Click here for more information.

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