News and Announcements

A second lecture session from Valortech lecture series to be held on the 2nd of December, 2021

The second guest lecture session of the ERA Chair in Valortech will again be taking place in an online format the 2nd of December. The topic of the second session focuses on Biomass Valorization and Bioprocessing Technologies. 

Following guest speakers have been invited to share their expertise: 


Prof. Vicente M. Gómez-López, Ph.D. Cátedra Alimentos para la Salud, Universidad Católica de Murcia (UCAM), Spain.

Topic: Microwave-assisted extraction for waste/by products valorization

Time: 10.30 am- 11.20 am


Prof. Sivakumar Manickam, Ph.D. Petroleum and Chemical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi Brunei, Brunei

Topic: Greener, cleaner and energy-efficient ultrasound for the extraction of active constituents from natural products

Time: 11. 25 am -12.15 pm

Participation is free and accessible to anyone who is interested. To attend, PLEASE REGISTER HERE 

 A link to the online event will be sent to the registered participants.

The details of the event are provided in the lectre notice.


Prof. Bhat gave a keynote talk at an international conference organized
by UrFU

Prof. Rajeev Bhat delivered a talk as a 'Keynote speaker' at the recently held International conference "Modern Synthetic Methodologies for Creating Drugs and Functional Materials" (MOSM 2021, November 8-12, 2021), Organized by the Ural Federal University, Russia. The talk on 'Valorization of food industry wastes and by-products in the circular economy context' was very well received by the participants. Rajeev shared his expertized view on identifying various opportunities and challenges for the effective valorization of wastes and by-products from a global perspective.


Valortech launched a new lecture series

The first guest lecture session from the series of lectures to be organized by the ERA Chair in Valortech took place on the 2nd of November. The first session featured two guest speakers: Prof. Jesus Simal-Gandara, PhD (Food Science Lab, Analytical Chemistry and Food Science Dep. University of Vigo - Ourense Campus, Spain), with an exiting presentation titled "Qualitative and quantitative metabolomics for ingredient valorization", and Prof. Elena G. Kovaleva, PhD (Institute of Chemical Engineering, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia), with an insightful introduction to a topic "Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents in Extraction of Biologically Active Compounds. The lecture session was attended virtually by 35 participants, from Estonia, Finland, Russia, Lithuania, India and Brunei.

The details of the event are provided in the lecture notice.


Webinar "Food Waste Valorization: Natural Pigments Perspectives"

A hybrid webinar /workshop was held on the 28th of October, focusing on providing knowledge about the valorization of food industry wastes/by-products (mainly fruits and vegetables) to obtain value-added bioactive natural pigments that would have potential in food, cosmetics and pharma industrial applications. The webinar featured a lecture session with a guest lecture by Prof. Francesco Donsì (University of Salerno Via Giovanni Paolo II, Fisciano (SA) –Italy), and lectures from our researchers Minaxi Sharma, Reelika Rätsep and PhD student Monica Nabil Ibrahim. The workshop segment of the event introduced methods for the extraction of natural pigments. 


Meeting with the representative of EPKK

Prof. Rajeev Bhat held fruitful discussions with Ms. Meeli Lindsaar who is a Board member of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce (EPKK) and Chairman of the Client Council of the Agriculture and Food Board, Estonia. Mutual cooperation, support and enhancing networking between ERA-Chair in Valortech and EPKK, ultimately aiming towards contributing to the Estonian agri-food sector was deliberated.



The first Valortech ERA Chair Summer School has been successfully completed

The Summer School “Valorization of Food Industry Wastes and By-products”, held in hybrid mode on 28-30.09, offered the 25 registered participants the opportunity to gain experiences through different workshops, lectures and visits.

The team would like to give special thanks to the guest lecturers Assoc Prof. Apostolis Koitinas (Univ. of Athens, Greece) and Miguel Herrero (CIAL-CSIC, Spain) for sharing the valuable knowledge, and to all the participants for their active involvment.


Prof. Bhat gave a talk as an invited speaker at the 4th International Guest Lecture Week

Prof. Bhat was invited as a speaker in the 4th International Guest Lecture Week (Lecture Series/ Webinar), Organized by the Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS), Surakarta, Indonesia on 29/09/2021. The talk was entitled 'Sustainable food production in the circular economy context. Rajeev shared his expertise on identifying various opportunities for gaining success in sustainable food production on the global scenario- in reference to the circular economy context. There were more than 300 participants coming from various regions who attended this talk.  


A book was published by Rajeev Bhat

Prof. Rajeev Bhat's new book (Ed.) titled "Valorization of Agri-Food Wastes and By-Products: Recent Trends, Innovations, and Sustainability Challenges" was published in September by a prestigious publisher Elsevier Sciences (Academic Press, UK). With contributions from highly recognized experts in the field, the book covers a vast arena of topics related to the valorization of agri-food wastes/by-products, innovations, and various sustainability challenges encountered in the entire supply chain. The release of the book was highlighted in the EMÜ news section and also by the Estonian Research Information System news portal.


Valortech took part in Researchers Night Festival

The Valortech team organised a workshop to introduce the project activities during the Researchers Night Festival. A workstation set up by our team introduced the ways by-products of juice production are managed to get from them the valuable compounds still left in the residues after the juice has been produced. The station with the head title “How to extract natural colours and pectins from fruit and berry by-products” allowed the participants to get a hands-on experience on how to extract pigments and pectins from fruit or berry juice press cake and see what affects the intensity of the different pigment colours.


Our team members presented at Garage48 FOOD 2021: Pre-event

In co-organisation with Garage48, Estonian University of Life Sciences and Estonian Research Council, and partnership with Polli Horticultural Research Centre, TFTAK, TalTech, Ministry of Rural Affairs, and BioCC, a hackathon of food technology pre-event was held on 18-19th of September. Valortech team put up two mentors, Katrin Jõgi and Ivi Jõudu. Katrin did a presentation during a topic block: Bio and Circular economy in Food technology, aimed to introduce in more depth the usage of food waste as a potential raw material, and introduced a plan for the participants in the follow-up hackathon event taking place in October 22-24.


Visit to Estonian Bread Industry (Eesti Leivatööstus AS)

Rajeev Bhat and Toomas Tiirats visited Estonia's well-established food company Estonian Bread Industry (Eesti Leivatööstus AS) in Tartu ( An interactive meeting was held with the CEO of the company Hannes Mootse. The visit started with a general introduction followed by a scientific discussion on the activities of the ERA-Chair in Valortech by Rajeev and Toomas. Hannes highlighted the Company's contribution to the local Estonian market (on-table discussions over a cup of coffee at the 'Perfecto café). A visit to the production unit was made to have a closer look at various bakery-based products being produced using traditional and modern-day methods. Possible opportunities for collaboration and common interests were mapped. It was identified that the main demand in the market revolves around producing low-cost, economically feasible, safer healthy food products that can meet the local consumers' needs. Options for utilizing the results generated from Valortech researchers and possibilities for future technology transfer were discussed.


Prof. Bhat gave an invited talk at COMBIVET symposium

Prof. Rajeev Bhat delivered an invited talk in the symposium on 'Extracellular vesicles in pathophysiology new advances in the development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in health and disease,' held on 26-27 August 2021, in Tartu. The talk was entitled 'A novel approach for valorization of fruits and vegetable wastes/by-products: Exploring the opportunities for mass production of plant-based extracellular vesicles (EVs).' Rajeev shared his view and expertise on the scope and opportunities for valorization of locally generated fruits and vegetable wastes/by-products (in food industries), and how plant-based EV's could be explored as a mode of carriers of bioactive compounds/molecules onto the human cells.


Visit to Murimäe winary

Valortech researchers led by Professors Rajeev Bhat and Kadri Karp (Department of Horticulture, Estonian University of Life Sciences) visited the Murimäe Winery on 24th of August 2021. On the day of the visit, Prof. Kadri Karp introduced the Nordic viticulture system and various agronomic practices involved in the sustainable production of wine. The participants were taken on a short tour around the wine yard, greenhouse, and wine cellar. A wine tasting session of the products (wines of rhubarb, Japanese quince, chokeberry, and grape) was organized. The visit was initiated and organized by one of the Valortech researchers, Reelika Rätsep. Rajeev held discussions with the owner of Murimäe Winery, Janika Ilves, on the raw materials used for wine production and the scope for utilizing/valorizing winery wastes and by-products. Possible future research cooperation opportunities were mapped.



Valortech publications in June

Summer has been very productive for the Valortech team in terms of publishing. Three new articles were released during June:
I.U.H. Bhat and R. Bhat published an article: "Quercetin: A Bioactive Compound Imparting Cardiovascular and Neuroprotective Benefits: Scope for Exploring Fresh Produce, Their Wastes, and By-Products".
R. Rätsep et. al published an article titled "Recovery of Polyphenols from Vineyard Pruning Wastes—Shoots and Cane of Hybrid Grapevine (Vitis sp.) Cultivars".
S. Hussain, M. Sharma, R. Bhat published an article "Valorisation of Sea Buckthorn Pomace by Optimization of Ultrasonic-Assisted Extraction of Soluble Dietary Fibre Using Response Surface Methodology".


Visit to 'Anu Ait OÜ

Rajeev Bhat and Toomas Tiirats visited the locally recognized, well-established agri-food based company 'Anu Ait OÜ' in Tartu city on 30 June 2021. This company, established in late 1990's offers reliable and best solutions for livestock feed production in the local market.  Fruitful discussions were held with Anu Hellenurme (CEO of the company) on opportunities for collaborations with ERA-Chair in Valortech activities.



Online seminar Smart Thursday

Piia Pääso took part in the Smart Thursday seminar session dedicated to the topic of valorization and more effective usage of different industrial by-products and residues. Piia gave a talk titled “From waste to resource – science based approach" (Jäägist saak – teaduspõhine lähenemine), where she introduced different research approaches and science cooperation opportunities provided in EMU, Polli Horticultural Research Centre and at Valortech chair.



A podcast introducing our curricula was recorded

In cooperation with the Rohegeenius portal, a podcast introducing the teaching activities at our chair was recorded. Ivi Jõudu talked about the curricula and the future prospects in the field of food technology.

You can listen to the podcast here.