Thursday, March 28, 2013

A new method for disposing carrot discards in Argentina

On Dec. 12, 2012, according to the Argentine Council for Information and Development of Biotechnology (Argen-Bio), Argentina found a new way to use its carrot discards for producing carotene and bioethanol. This new method can not only take full advantage of carrots which can't be sold, but also prevent the local environment from being polluted.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Argentina is the largest producer of carrot in South America and its products are mainly exported to other countries. With the total planting area of 7,000-9,000 ha., Argentina's total production of carrot is between 200-250 thousand tonnes per year, which brings about an income of USD100 million to Argentina every year.
However, as reported, in the harvest season, there are 20-80 tonnes of carrots every day on average that should be discarded from packaging plants in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina due to unsatisfactory size and shape, which not only increases the costs but also pollutes the environment in Argentina.
In view of this situation, the National University of the Coast (UNL) found a new method for disposing the carrot discards and increasing their value. According to UNL, there are two steps for using the carrot discards.
Firstly, carotene can be extracted from these products, and the carotene can be sold to the related companies for using in food, dye, drug or cosmetic. It's believed that the carotene will bring more benefits to the producers.
Secondly, as the carrot contains abundant sugar, bioethanol can be produced from carrot through hydrolysis. According to sources from Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, one tonne of carrot at most can produce 77.5 liters of ethanol which is just lower than 10 liters made from one tonne of sugarcane. Therefore, Argentina can produce more than 5,000 liters of ethanol every year from the carrot discards.
With the rapid economic development in the world, more and more countries face the shortage of energy. In order to solve this problem, many countries such as Brazil and the US begin to produce bioethanol instead of the traditional energy like gasoline. Argentina is no exception. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Argentina has become an important player of biofuels in the world, and it produced about 2.9 billion liters of biodiesel and 280 million liters of bioethanol only in 2011. Although Argentina's production of biodiesel and bioethanol in 2012has not been officially published, it's believed that it will break a record. What's more, some private analysts even predict that the total production of biodiesel and bioethanol in Argentina will reach 6 billion liters by 2015.

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