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

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Introduction / Background

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.

Aim

The DISCOVERY project is exploring the use of new and innovative techniques such as – ultrasonic wave cavitation – for the processing of vegetable waste resulting from the processing of vegetables, in order to increase yields and produce other intermediate value-added products. By applying a relatively simple technical solution to the production of vegetable beverages – ultrasonic wave cavitation is proposed. It will be possible to organize a waste free process of vegetable processing, thereby contributing to the reduction of pollution and having a positive environmental impact.

Expected results

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.

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Key words

Ultrasonics, yield increase, new food applications, innovative processing, vegetable raw materials

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Project consortium

Coordinated by

Dr. Christoph Glasner in cooperation with Josef Robert and Lukas Rüller - Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT, GERMANY

Partners

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

Runtime project

The DISCOVERY project started on 01/10/2018 and runs until 30/06/2021.

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More information

Research articles