NTU Scientists' New Process Turns Kale Waste Into Treasure
Singapore/ Terra/ Sustainability

NTU Scientists' New Process Turns Kale Waste Into Personal Care Products

Kale Waste NTU

Scientists from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) have developed a new process to extract phytochemicals from kale waste that can be used in cosmetics, personal care products, and food supplements.

This waste-to-research sustainable approach is in line with NTU's five-year plan to use research in lessening human impact on the natural environment, according to a news release by NTU on Aug. 16.

In Singapore alone, about 817,000 tonnes of food waste were created in 2021, with almost half of the waste coming from fruit and vegetables.

The scientists' newly developed extraction process involves naturally derived natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) or plant-based, non-toxic liquids known for being used in separation technology for food and medical drugs.

The research team eventually landed on the best NADES solvent to extract phytochemicals from kale easily without having to heat or pre-treat kale waste.

"[T]he costs of the simpler extraction process are kept down," the release read. "The NTU research team is confident their newly developed method would be scalable and attractive cost wise to the industry."

Professor Hu Xiao of the NTU School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), lead author of the study, also said that the use of non-toxic and naturally derived solvents makes their new process food-safe.

"At the same time, our method preserves the potency of the extracted active ingredients, making it highly attractive for industry adoption," he was quoted as saying.

The research team’s scientific paper on the Separation and Purification Technology journal, published July 15, may be read here.

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