THE LINK BETWEEN GRAPE WASTE AND PIGS HEALTH

Submitted by Eloi Montcada on 25 November 2022

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Poliapig is a project that investigates in a circular economy approach that links the wine industry with pig farming sector.

Grape pomace contains grape skins, seeds and stems, which are left over once the grapes have been pressed and used after wine production. It takes about 1,5 kilograms of grapes to produce one litre of wine, and 20% of this weight results in pomace. Taking into account that around 12 million tons of wine are being produced every year at a global scale, it is easy to understand the importance of focusing efforts to find feasible uses to all this waste of organic material.

Grapes are rich in polyphenols, a substance that, according to a raising number of studies have well-known benefits for the health of pigs and other animals. Poliapig is focused on the implementation of Artificial Intelligence technology to determine and assess the best condition and proportion of grape pomace as part of pig’s feed consumption in farming. It involves the design of a real-time data collection system to compare health indicators of male pigs and piglets in different feeding stages and in real-environment conditions.

This will allow pig farmers to adopt the best polyphenol-rich nutritional strategy when integrating pomace that come from grape cultivation and wine production into pigs feed, with the objective of improving efficiency and competitiveness of both sectors and also contributing to our responsibility towards environment sustainability, as waste is transformed into a valuable product that will also help to reduce the use of chemical antimicrobial in animal farming.

Poliapig is the project that has raised the best awarding score amongst all the proposals that were submitted in the first call of 2022 for the national support grant programme for AEI clusters (Innovative Business Groups), awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. This public grant framework for AEI Clusters is aimed at promoting competitiveness and transition to a digital leadership, especially amongst SME organisations within accredited clusters, and with a particular impact on Industry 4.0, post-Covid recovery and, last but not least, on more efficient uses of materials and energy resources for the ecological transition.

An amount of 76.332€ has been granted to develop this project in 2022, from a total budget of 105.729€. INNOVI, the Catalan wine cluster, coordinates the project partnership, which is formed by other four Spanish organisations: the Aragon Food Cluster, Cuarte, as the pig farming industry with experimental research activities, Unio Fruits, a cooperative company specialised in agricultural food products, and IA Sapiens Innovations, technological company with expertise in Artificial Intelligence.

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