Good news for Icelandic food production and Matís' partners

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The development of more environmentally friendly packaging, grass proteins, by-products of gardening and foods made from macroalgae, together with species analysis of salted fish, are among Matís' new projects in collaboration with companies and institutions.

The last few weeks proved successful for Matís's Icelandic food producers and partners, but thirteen projects that Matís works on received funding from the Food Fund when the fund announced its third allocation. Earlier this summer, eight other funds had announced that ten collaborative projects in which Matís is involved had secured funding. This excellent result clearly shows the strength and importance of the cooperation that Matís has with companies, institutions and entrepreneurs of all sizes and types, both within the country and abroad. 

Matís' goal is to support research and innovation in the food and biotechnology industry, and the company's staff is proud to have the opportunity to work with forward-looking companies, institutions and entrepreneurs in shaping the future. The following is a brief overview of 23 new Matís collaboration projects that received positive responses about grant money in recent weeks. The picture below shows that Matís' partners in the projects are spread all over the country.

Icelandic Food Innovation Fund (is. Matvælasjóður)

Value from horticultural by-products is a joint project of the Farmers' Association, Orkídeu and Matís, where they are looking for ways to create increased value from the by-products of gardening, such as leaves that fall during defoliation in horticulture, plants that are in danger of yielding, any kind of cuttings such as rose petals, outermost leaves of cabbage , carrot grass and potato grass. Various valuable substances can be found in these side products, but now they are mostly composted or landfilled with the associated costs. Soon it will be prohibited to dispose of organic waste to the extent that it is done today due to negative environmental effects. It is therefore important to find a way to increase the value of this raw material and reduce waste.

LuLam Wrap (Lupine food wrap) is a joint project of Efnasmiðjunn, Sedna-Biopack, Sälufélag garðyrkjummanna and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop environmentally friendly, degradable packaging from Icelandic alaska and kelp, and test it for food use.

Flavorings made from seafood is a joint project of North Seafood Solutions, Útgerðarfélagins Lokinharma, Iceland Seafood Iberica and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop flavors and flavors from the by-products of fish processing in Iceland. These products are intended mainly for the foreign market for restaurants and canteens.

Meat snacks - value creation through full processing of horse meat is a joint project of a 1000-year-old rural village, Orkídea and Matís. The aim of the project is to increase the processing of Icelandic horsemeat and to develop new and valuable products from this underutilized raw material, including meat snack Market infrastructure will also be built to increase Icelanders' interest and consumption of meat snacks made from horse meat.

Production of oligosaccharides from macroalgae by enzymatic processing is an innovative project that will be carried out within Matís' biotechnology group. The goal of the project is to develop a method for the production of oligosaccharides from macroalgae and thus increase the utilization of algae that grow in abundance on the coast of Iceland. Oligosaccharides are used in the food industry to change the taste and texture characteristics, as well as having a positive effect on the microflora in the digestive tract. Oligosaccharides can replace fat and/or sugar in food, and such use leads to healthier foods as oligosaccharides are low in calories.

BruXOS – Value creation from the by-product of beer making is a joint project between Ölgerðinn and Matís, where the goal is to create value from beer-making beer by using enzymes to convert fiber in the beer into xylose oligosaccharides. But as mentioned above, oligosaccharides are used in the food industry to change the taste and texture characteristics, as well as having a positive effect on the microflora in the digestive tract. Oligosaccharides can replace fat and/or sugar in food, and such use leads to healthier foods as oligosaccharides are low in calories.

Certification of origin of Icelandic salted fish in Spain is a joint project of the Association of Icelandic Saltfish Producers, the Norwegian Marine Research Institute and Matís. The project aims to develop a genetic method that can distinguish between cod from Íslandsmiður and cod caught off the coast of Norway and in the Barents Sea. Salted fish producers in this country suspect that salted cod products from Norway are sometimes wrongly labeled as Icelandic on markets in Southern Europe. The market position of Icelandic salted fish products has for a long time been very strong in Southern Europe, especially in Spain, Portugal and Italy. In these markets, Icelandic products have a certain uniqueness and prices for Icelandic saltfish are generally higher than for saltfish from other regions. If the goal of the project is successful, it will be possible to verify that salted fish is not sold under a false flag.

Relationship of NIR to growth and feed digestibility of salmonids is a joint project of the Association of Icelandic Fishmeal Producers, Síldarvállúnn, Eskja, Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja, the University of Iceland and Matís. The aim of the project is to develop a model to evaluate the quality of fishmeal as a raw material for salmon farm feed in a quick, easy and cheap way. The model will be based on NIR technology (near infrared spectroscopy) which provides information on the content and characteristics of the measured samples. This information can be used and compared in vivo actual measurements and thus get a forecast for various elements in the raw material. These include the chemical content and digestibility of raw materials, the composition of nutrients such as amino acids and fatty acids, to name a few. A NIR device actually provides a fingerprint of the raw material. With the NIR model, it will therefore be possible to assess the quality of fishmeal, which will provide fishmeal producers with data to improve their products and strengthen their bargaining position vis-a-vis feed producers. Similarly, the results of the project will enable feed manufacturers to select the right "right" fishmeal for their feed.

Is the grass greener on the other side? (grass protein) is a joint project of Matís, the Farmers' Association, the University of Agriculture and the Advisory Center for Agriculture. Protein is in high demand and one possible source of protein is grass. Abroad, especially in Denmark, research has been carried out in the field of protein processing from grass with good results. The goal of the project is to start research in this field in Iceland and carry out basic work that can then be built on. Results from Denmark cannot be transferred directly to Icelandic conditions, so it is important to carry out research in this area here. Protein extracted from grass can be used both as fodder and food. Research has also shown that waste from protein processing can be used as feed. In the project, samples of grass will be collected from the experimental cultivation of different cultivars and knowledge of the protein content and properties of the isolated protein will be obtained.

Nutritional data - key to national public health and innovation in the food industry is a joint project of Matís, the European Food Information Resource (EuroFIR), the Association of Small Food Producers (SSMF), Mjölkursamsalen and other companies in the food industry. When making claims about the health and safety of food, information and knowledge are needed. The aim of the project is to improve and update the Icelandic database on the chemical content of food (ÍSGEM). ÍSGEM is now managed by Matís, but it has not been possible to finance its maintenance for the past 12 years. It is up to the food industry, scientists and the public alike not to be able to fully trust the information. A step will be taken to make it easier for the food industry and the public to use the database on the Matís website. During product development in the food industry, it is important to be able to examine the composition of raw materials when aiming for certain goals in the development.

Discection yields and nutrient value of Icelandic lamb meat and organs is a joint project of Icelandic Lamb marketing agency and Matís. The project relates to an assessment of utilization rates within the meat assessment categories of lamb and an analysis of the chemical content of meat and by-products that are of increasing value. The project is intended to update old and even outdated data and save it in public databases.

Pine fatty acids as a quality indicator is a joint project between True Westfjords and Matís where the goal is to use Furan fatty acids to evaluate the quality of fish oil, while True Westfjörds is a producer of cold-processed fish oil sold under the brand name Dropi.

Improved quality of sea-frozen roe is a joint project between Útgerðafélag Reykjavíkur and Matís, where efforts will be made to improve processing processes and the quality of sea-frozen pollock products.

Rannís Technology Development Fund

BIOTOOL, Advanced technology for environmental monitoring in aquaculture is a joint project of RORUM (Research and consultancy in environmental and regional affairs), the University of Iceland, the Danish Technical University (DTU) and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive genetic molecular tool for monitoring benthic communities for fish farming. The device in question is very sensitive and will result in significant savings in time and costs, which are important to both the fish farm and public regulators. The project is based on unique long-term data and the latest technology in environmental genetics. A very fast and environmentally friendly technology that uses environmental DNA (eDNA) will be used to monitor and measure changes in benthic communities.

Professional degree in sheep farming

Increased throughput and cost-effectiveness in rickets gene assays is a joint project of the Agricultural Advisory Center (RML) and Matís. Now the situation in the analyzes of the rickets gene has completely changed. A protective variation against scabies, i.e. at position 171 in the scabies gene, has been found in a herd in Þernunes in Reyðarfjörður, and extensive research is underway to investigate the effect of other variations in the scabies gene on susceptibility to scabies: 137, 138 and 151. In addition, it is important for farmers to receive information about 136 and 154, as Matís has analyzed for years. Therefore, it is clear that farmers and managers urgently need genotyping of all these six seats in as many artifacts as possible. The aim of the project is to increase the performance and reduce the price of riðügen analyzes in this country. The grant will be used to cover the costs of sequencing the scrapie gene to farmers and RML.

Lou fund

Fishing and processing of redfish in Vestmannaeyjar is a joint project of the Vestmannaeyri Knowledge Center, the Vestmannaeyri Research Service, the University of Iceland, the Norwegian Marine Research Institute, the Processing Center in the Vestmannaeyjar, the Ísfélag Vestmannaeyjar and Matís. In the project, the viability of catching and processing redfish in the Vestmannaeyjar will be investigated.

A fund for the promotion of a circular economy in Iceland

Microorganisms for aquaculture sludge enrichment is a joint project of Sjávarklasan and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop methods to use organic side streams (waste) from salmon farming in fertilizer.

Optimization of the implementation of the utilization of side streams for biochar and fertilizer production is a joint project between Landeldi and Matís, but the aim of the project is to The aim of the project is to investigate and document the recovery of nutrients from different dry chemical filters in land farming and their best handling for biochar production. The aim is to research and optimize processes for mixing livestock manure, fish slurry, feed residues and dead fish from land farming, with the aim of maximizing the soil-improving properties of biochar and the power of fertiliser. It will be investigated how biochar can be produced in the most economical way.

Environmental Fund for Sea Pig Farming

Monitoring of manatee farming areas using rapid genetic methods is a joint project between RORUM and Matís. The aim of the project is to develop fast genetic methods to monitor the biological diversity in the bottom layers under and around salmon dams.

EIT food

The relationship between feed and seasonal fluctuations in the nutritional content of milk (NUTRIMILK – Connecting milk seasonality and nutritional requirements to inform farm-to-fork innovations for optimum nutrient supply). The project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Reading, UK. The aim of the project is to examine changes in nutritional composition depending on the season. The project will (i) investigate the effect of production system (organic production vs conventional) and season (January-December), on the concentration of trace minerals and minerals in milk and (ii) evaluate the effect it has on the mineral intake of different social groups across the year.

Norwegian Research Council (Forskningsrådet)

Causal categorization of mortality as a model system for sustainable growth and increased value creation in aquaculture is a project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and led by the Department of Veterinary Medicine at NMBU University in Norway. Other participants are ÅKERBLÅ AS, SINTEF, PISCADA AS, LERØY, Laxar, Arctic Fish, Arnarlax and Matís. The goal of the project is to analyze the reasons for salmon deaths in aquaculture and to try to use that knowledge to reduce salmon deaths.

BlueBio Cofund

Strengthening European fisheries by creating a "fingerprint" of underutilized fish species to increase sustainability and reduce waste (EuFish_SustainableGrowth – European fisheries enhancement through "Omic" characterization and innovative seafood production from underutilized fish species. The project is led by the University of Naples Federico II, Italy and worked in collaboration with AquaBioTech ltd, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn of Naples, Brim, Grími kokki and Matís. The goal of the project is to examine underutilized fish species by using them better as nutritious food and/or as feed in aquaculture. By using diverse fish species, we can increase access to nutritious seafood and reduce food waste. Specific fingerprints of different species will be developed which can be shared with stakeholders in a database.

BláGræntFóður (Synergy of blue and green sectors for resilient biomass production and processing to develop sustainable feed ingredients for European aquaculture). The project is led by SINTEF in Norway, with the participation of the University of Åarhus, the University of Tallinn, the University of Iceland, Laxá and Montasjen in Norway. The goal of the project is to develop fish feed from grass proteins and feather meal from poultry farming.