Globally, we produce a lot of food waste that has huge environmental and economic impacts.

Annually, we produce 6-8 million tonnes of seafood waste globally – and that doesn’t even include other types of food waste!

What some people don’t realize is how costly seafood waste really is- it costs $150/tonne to dispose of – a hefty price to pay! Food is a terrible thing to waste.

 

Shaudã Rhoden, a Trent University graduate from the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Mathematics program, conducted her research to address this issue.

She wanted to identify a potential solution for disposing of this waste in an environmentally friendly way.

She discovered that seafood waste has a compound called chitin that could be converted into a film that can be used in the medical field and the food packaging industry.  

Chitin is one of the primary components that make up the exoskeleton of our seafood waste.

Her research has found that it is possible to make a new hybrid film from shrimp shells, glycerol from vegetable oils and silica using green chemistry methods. The additional items helped produce a stronger film that can withstand pressure and increase durability with the seafood waste product.

These stronger, more flexible films and can be used for many products in the medical field and the food packaging industry.

Shaudã’s research has the potential to save our economy billions of dollars by finding a purpose for seafood waste. It would also help ensure that this “waste” can be used as a “resource” instead of going to landfills.

 

Thank you Shaudã for for sharing your important and interesting research with us about the potential to turn seafood waste into a valuable commodity. We wish you all the best in the future and hope to get updates about your progress.

Here is what Shaudã had to say about her experience with Trent University:

“Trent University has been my home for the last four years and has been the place that has challenged me the most in the best ways possible. Under the supervision of Prof. Shegufa Shetranjiwalla-Merchant, I was able to conduct research that was meaningful to me and that opened my mind and understanding to the world of Chemistry like never before. The Chemistry Department, fellow students and Faculty members made research something that I enjoyed and look forward to in the future.”