An interesting method will greatly please beer enthusiasts and friends of the environment. A group of scientists have recently reported a method to extract protein and fiber from barley and other grains used for brewing beers. The protein can be used in food processing and the fiber for biofuels.
Scientists propose better uses for waste grain from beer brewing process. Image credit: pxhere.com.
The big brewers agree on a waste problem: they have to deal with the bagasse obtained from the process of pressing and filtering the wort resulting from the saccharification of barley grain, a powder rich in protein and dietary fiber that is usually used as a feed supplement for livestock or ends up in a landfill.
As a possible use for this abundant residue from beer brewing, a group of scientists has presented the results of their research at a press conference held on the occasion of the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), where different topics were addressed. The content of this topic can be read in an ACS press release dated April 6.
In this regard, it is mentioned in the press release that the residual grain from brewing is rich in protein, this grain contains up to 30% protein and the rest in fiber, much more than other agricultural waste, so they set out to find a new method to use it in an integrated manner, since, although it can be used as feed for livestock, it is not usable in another way.
So, in order to transform this waste into a product that is much more functional for people, the researchers developed a wet milling fractionation method to separate the fiber from the protein. Then, three types of commercially available enzymes were tested: alcalase, neutralase and pepsin. The treatment with the alcalase enzyme provided the best results, achieving greater separation without losing large amounts of any of the components. And after a sieving process, a protein concentrate and a product rich in fiber were obtained.
And although the researchers proposed using the protein concentrate as a more economical and sustainable substitute for fishmeal used as feed in shrimp farming and also exploring its use as a food preparation ingredient for people seeking alternative sources of protein, the fiber-rich product still remained without a use that could give it value.
But as research continued and thanks to the discovery of a new species of Bacillus lichenformis species, the researchers discovered that this bacterium could convert various sugars into 2,3-butanediol, a compound that can be used to obtain other useful compounds, such as synthetic rubber and biofuels. So the fiber product was subjected to a decomposition process to obtain cellulose sugars and hemicellulose from it, and then these sugars were used to feed the bacteria to obtain 2,3-butenediol.
Microbiological treatment of fiber with Bacillus lichenformis transforms sugars into biofuels. Image credit: @emiliomoron, contains public domain image from pixabay.com.
Although it is still important to determine the economic feasibility of this method of separating the fiber and protein from this brewing waste, it is certainly an excellent way to give greater value to this waste that might otherwise end up in landfills or causing an environmental problem somewhere due to its abundance. Hopefully, the next stages of the research will determine if it is possible to scale the method sustainably to industrial requirements.
Thanks for coming by to read friends, I hope you liked the information. See you next time.