Food Waste Battle Sees Products Emerge From Mango Oil Moisturiser To Grape Compost

In the ongoing battle to reduce food waste, a group of students has discovered how the oil from mango seeds could be used as a moisturiser.

It was one of many ideas being explored to find ways of reusing leftovers or produce that would otherwise be thrown out.

At Charles Sturt University (CSU), in Orange NSW, students in the pharmaceutical department took it upon themselves to find a way of extracting oil from the kernels inside mangoes.

Associate Professor Maree Donna Simpson said every year in Australia more than 70,000 tonnes of mangoes were produced, most of which was consumed on the domestic market.

Key points:

  • The Federal Government wants to halve food waste by 2030
  • An estimated 7.6 million tonnes of food is wasted in Australia each year
  • One idea is oil extracted from mango kernels used in moisturiser to cut down on waste

“What we wanted to do is to crack into the seed, and take the oil from the kernel inside and see what we could do with it.

“We found that the oil inside has similar characteristics to shea butter and cocoa butter, which are used often but not usually sourced in waste products like mango seeds.”

Halving food waste by 2030

In 2017, the Federal Government committed to halve the level of food waste in Australia by the year 2030.

Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL), a not-for-profit organisation, commenced a study this year looking at whether the commitment was achievable and what actions would be needed to reach the target.

“Nationally, there are about 7.6 million tonnes of food that is wasted every year,” FIAL special advisor Mark Barthel said.

“It’s made up of waste from the primary and manufacturing sectors, as well as food that gets thrown out in retail, hospitality and food service, and at home.”

Mr Barthel said there was a growing interest in transforming surplus food to ensure it was not wasted.

“Even something as simple as dehydrating fresh produce that would otherwise be thrown out or given to livestock would be a huge market opportunity,” he said.

Cracking into mango seeds

At CSU, the pharmacy students were required to remove the kernel from inside the mango seed to begin the process of extracting oil.

Student Emily Guo said they looked at a variety of solvents that could be used to remove the oil.

“We did a couple of experiments with different solvents at different temperatures,” she said.

“We then looked at the final product and discovered that, compared to commercial mango oil, ours had really high carbon, which showed it was really pure.

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