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Plant proteins and sugars from brewing waste

Food & Drink

One company is using spent grain from brewing processes to create a protein and glucose alternatives

Spotted: Although around 70 per cent of spent brewing grain is utilised in animal feed, a substantial 20 per cent is still sent to landfill – a wasted opportunity for potentially nutrient-rich ingredients that are instead left to rot. This is where Terra Bioindustries and its new protein extract, dubbed ‘Protina’, and the glucose alternative ‘Recyclose’ come in. 

Terra cofounder Steve George highlights that only around one per cent of spent grain is currently utilised for alternate uses like turning it into upcycled food produce for humans, and most of these processes merely involve drying the grain and grinding it into powder. This technique often drastically changes the flavour, texture, and experience of a food. 

Protina is taking this process one step further and actually extracting the valuable nutrients from the spent grain and converting them to a more concentrated version. Where equivalent companies hydrolyse the grain to make a protein isolate, Terra keeps the proteins whole, with the belief that this makes it better for food applications. 

Recyclose comes from the same process, but is made from the residual sugars in spent grain rather than the protein. Its use is in any fermentation process where it has been said to perform exactly like glucose by the yeast, fungi, and algae fermenters that have tested it already. This means it can likely be used as a glucose substitute in any industry that requires fermentation as a process. 

Terra Bioindustries sees scalability as hugely promising in the field. While the company is focused on spent brewing grain for the time being, it recognises the potential value of spent waste in many other industries. Terra Bio is currently raising seed funding with hopes of starting commercial production next year. 

Increasingly, innovators are looking at waste as a valuable resource, rather than something to be discarded. In the archive, Springwise has also spotted one company that makes high-tech nano-crystals out of crab and lobster waste, as well as a startup transforming broccoli waste into plant proteins.

Written By: Archie Cox



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