Tetra Pak is partnering with cell-free biomanufacturing processes developer EnginZyme to bring environmentally sustainable and economically sound nutrition and food waste solutions to the food and beverage industry.
As a first project, Tetra Pak and EnginZyme are exploring transforming acid whey, a by-product from the manufacture of dairy foods like greek yogurt or cream cheese, into valuable ingredients that can go into healthy food products.
“This collaboration has shown that efficient use of enzymes opens previously impossible avenues for the production of the foods and beverages of the future,” says Karim Engelmark Cassimjee, CEO and co-founder of EnginZyme.
EnginZyme and Tetra Pak are developing processes using enzymes. These are naturally occurring, non-toxic biological molecules that have the potential to replace or improve upon energy-intensive chemical catalysts in food production.
The companies are leveraging their respective strengths to find new ways to improve food and beverage production by, for example, turning food waste into valuable ingredients.
Enzymes can be unstable and unpredictable and therefore difficult to control, explain the companies. With the help of EnginZyme’s patented, cell-free biomanufacturing platform, enzymes can be transformed into a solid heterogeneous material, making it easier to handle.
Currently, acid whey must be disposed of carefully because it can damage ecosystems if it leaks into waterways. Tetra Pak and EnginZyme aim to demonstrate with acid whey the potential of enzyme technology to reduce waste streams and generate revenue from by-products.
“By combining Tetra Pak’s broad food processing expertise and deep market knowledge with EnginZyme’s biomanufacturing innovation, we are working to solve huge challenges while creating future food products,” says Engelmark Cassimjee.
“We’re creating a modern process environment that is low-energy, low-waste and [environmentally] sustainable.”
Waste-stream line integration
Tetra Pak is working to integrate EnginZyme’s biotechnology directly into product or waste-stream lines, meaning the solution could be easily scaled.
“EnginZyme’s ability to control and adapt enzymes to suit our manufacturing processes has great potential for many of our food applications,” adds Lidia Garcia Pou, head of project management and external innovation at Tetra Pak.
“Together we can crack the code to maximize our use of raw ingredients, reduce industrial waste, and improve efficiencies, which we believe will be revolutionary for the food processing industry.”
Production process control
Instead of adding enzymes directly to food, which is expensive and results in loss of control, EnginZyme’s technology fixes enzymes inside a reactor’s solid support material. The food passes through the reactor, allowing just enough enzymatic reactions to happen.
As the enzymes are fixed and the food goes in and out of the reactor, the enzymes can be reused – and don’t end up in the finished product, giving manufacturers better control of the production process. Further, the technology can be used with many enzyme types, making it a versatile, transferable solution for the food industry.
“In the future we see the EnginZyme-Tetra Pak partnership being synonymous with high-tech novel food processing solutions, solving key challenges across the food industry such as improving health and reducing waste,” says Engelmark Cassimjee.
“This close collaboration has shown that efficient use of enzymes opens previously impossible avenues for the production of the foods and beverages of the future.”
Edited by Natalie Schwertheim
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