Bioinformatics Reveals Business Potential in Sidestreams
A collaboration between the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Aalborg University and five Danish companies has resulted in the development of a new method of extracting side streams from raw materials – revealing valuable new business opportunities.
With an increasing global population and international initiatives to secure sustainable food production in the future, the food industry is in a constant search of new methods of utilising every resource to its fullest – thereby cutting both climate impact and company costs.
What happens to the leftovers when potatoes and seaweed are used as raw materials for food ingredients such as starch, alginate and carrageenan? Until recently, such side streams have either been sold off for animal feed or been used as fertilizer on agricultural fields – thereby wasting valuable components that can be used for better utilisation of other raw materials.
Modern technology identifies valuable new resources
However, scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Aalborg University have together with five Danish companies developed a method that can scan side streams for valuable proteins and clip them into functional peptides. Based on modern bioinformatics, the method has already identified useful peptide emulsifiers in potato protein. Tests show that these peptides are suitable for encapsulating fish oil, which is particularly sensitive to oxidation, extending its shelf life. Many other opportunities exist to obtain flavourings and preservatives from protein-containing sidestreams.
Improving business and meeting consumer demands
Apart from optimising raw material utilisation, protein extraction makes excellent business sense – increasing the value of side streams by a thousand-fold. The fact that the new additives come from proteins which have been in the food chain for centuries also meets the growing consumer demand for naturally functional ingredients.
Apart from optimising raw material utilisation, protein extraction makes excellent business sense – increasing the value of side streams a thousand-fold
The method is not limited to potatoes and seaweed but can also be used to scan any protein-containing crop or side stream, such as the wastewater from industrial fish processing.