DISCOVERY - Disaggregation of conventional vegetable press cakes by novel techniques to receive new products and to increase the yield

The European market of vegetal beverages, such as drinks from soy and other grains or fruits, in particular oats, rice, almonds and coconuts, is continuously growing even during the recent economic crisis, because these products are an attractive alternative to cow milk for vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians, or people with health problems, such as lactose intolerance or cardiovascular disease.

The general manufacturing procedure foresees pressing of the raw materials in the presence of water: the liquid phase is the final beverage and the solid phase is a press cake, which is used as feed ingredient. This represents a waste, since these press cakes still contain a lot of valuable proteins which are an underutilized material. In order to be competitive and to ensure sufficient food supply to consumers in the future it will became compulsory to use this source.

DISCOVERY has the objective of investigating promising techniques, in particular cavitation induced by ultrasonic, to unlock these potentials in a sustainable way. Ultrasonic technology has been applied in food processing for various purposes, but not yet in vegetal beverage processing. Fraunhofer owns an innovative test unit that will be applied for the press cakes treatment. It is expected that the press cakes disaggregate leading to two further fractions. One is similar to the regular vegetable drink, but maybe of a different quality. The enzymatic treatment or concentration of this liquid fraction will be investigated in the project. An overall 75 % increase of the liquid fraction is expected. The other fraction is constituted by high quality fibers at a different degree of purification, which could be generally used as ingredient in meat analogues, bread, pastries, etc. This fraction will be analyzed with regard to the most applicable usage and possible further treatments, such as enzymatic treatment or fermentation. All measures will be accompanied by a nutritional and food quality analysis.

Keywords: ultrasonics, yield increase, new food applications, innovative processing, vegetable raw materials

Type: Research & Innovation


Coordinated by: Dr. Christoph Glasner - Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. GERMANY

3 partners:

  • LITHUANIA: Kaunas University of Technology           
  • ITALY: University of Milan (UNIMI)
  • GERMANY: Berief Food GmbH 

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