Food & Supplements

Most Recent Inventions

Method to Convert Whey Waste into Monosaccharides and Other Valuable Products

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new catalytic approach for the conversion of lactose-rich dairy streams into whey protein, monosaccharides (glucose/galactose syrup) and water. The method includes the following steps:

First, the dairy waste stream undergoes ultrafiltration to separate it into retentate and permeate fractions. The smaller retentate stream goes through a standard protein extraction process to produce whey protein. The permeate (lactose stream) passes through a bed of activated carbon before being sent to the hydrolysis reactor. Activated carbon pretreatment removes 40 percent of the nitrogen-containing species that are responsible for undesired side reactions during the acid hydrolysis step. The ions are removed by a priority technology.

Hydrolysis is performed with either mineral acids or solid acid catalysts. The stream leaving the hydrolysis reactor is filtered with activated carbon to remove any solids and unwanted side products and then evaporated to make glucose/galactose syrup (see Figure 1 below).

Creating ‘Designer’ Yeast Hybrids for Brewing and More

UW–Madison researchers have developed HyPr, a simple and efficient method for generating synthetic Saccharomyces hybrids without sporulation or modification of the nuclear genome.

Specifically, using the new method, induction of HO endonuclease expression by a promoter in two diploid cultures, followed by co-culture and subsequent double-drug selection, will produce hybrids at a rate approaching 1 out of 1,000 cells plated. Plasmids can then be easily cured or spontaneously lost to produce strains without genome modifications.

The resulting strains can be rapidly screened for plasmid loss, opening an efficient route towards meeting the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA.

Improving Storage Life of Meat Substitutes

UW–Madison researchers have developed the use of certain natural substances to prevent oxidation of plant hemoglobin (Hb) and prolong the shelf life of meat substitutes. Their method includes specific concentrations of small molecules that react with plant heme proteins to reduce spoilage.

For example, the selected small molecule fits in the distal heme pocket of the plant Hb and will bind to the iron atom of the heme moiety. This results in better color stability and allows the meat analog to retain a red color mimicking raw hamburger. This binding to the heme-iron will also likely prevent oxidation of lipids, thereby protecting the flavor of the product during refrigerated and frozen storage.

“Natural” Antioxidants Prolong Storage Life of Meat

UW–Madison researchers have discovered an unexpected synergy between phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and rosemary extract, which can be used in combination to prolong the storage life of virtually any meat – including fish, fowl, pork and red meat as well as vegetarian meat analogs containing added protein heme. Even at very low concentrations (i.e., half the amount of rosemary used commercially today), the combination may inhibit lipid oxidation in all types of raw meat products.

Most Recent Patents

Improved Methods for Producing Low-Cost Protein-Polysaccharide Conjugates for Use in Foods and Beverages

UW–Madison researchers have developed novel methods of producing protein-polysaccharide complexes using a wet heat treatment.  The process involves heating aqueous solutions containing protein in the presence of a polysaccharide with a reducing sugar.  High concentrations of a stabilizing polysaccharide, such as dextran, are used to prevent unwanted protein denaturation. The resulting PPCs exhibit improved thermal stability, more desirable color and excellent emulsifying properties.  They are superior to both unmodified protein and gum Arabic.

Food & Drug Safety: Time-Temperature Indicator for Perishables

UW–Madison researchers have developed nanoreactors that can detect exposure of a perishable good to an undesired temperature. The device comprises a metal precursor in a stabilizing carrier such as gelatin or chitosan. Upon exposure to heat, the metal precursor forms nanoparticles that can be detected visually or spectroscopically by a change in color, peak wavelength or peak absorbance, as well as the size, number or shape of the nanoparticles that form. The nanoreactors could be applied to product packaging and ‘switched on’ to begin temperature tracking.

Safer, More Satisfying Beverage Standards for Swallowing Disorder

UW–Madison researchers have developed the first objective criteria that can be used to produce safe and palatable beverages for dysphagia patients.

The researchers asked patient panels to test numerous fluids and rate attributes such as stickiness and mouth coating. Using this feedback, the researchers were able to define a set of standards based on several properties, including apparent viscosity, consistency and flow.