Electrochemical and bi-catalytic chemo-enzymatic starch modification
The well-established starch industry faces the need to develop and implement greener technologies, to reduce the environmental footprint of current processes. Oxidation processes, in particular, generate high volumes of salt side streams that need to be treated in a downstream processing and subsequently discarded, which significantly increases the costs. Moreover, there is a continuous search in industry for new starch structures with enhanced functional properties for either food or non-food applications. Therefore new modification routes need to be explored. In this context, this project focused on novel green routes for starch modification, essentially salt-free, based on electrochemical and biocatalytic transformation. The project is multidisciplinary and addresses the following major topics:
- The use of electrochemical conversion to regenerate oxidative reagents used for carbohydrate oxidation, which opens the window for production of oxidized carbohydrate ingredients at reasonable cost.
- The use of industrial starch-acting enzymes for the modification of non-native starch materials, to tailor the product properties.
These new technological routes for modification of carbohydrates, in particular starch, open the opportunity for the development of new classes of products. Moreover, both routes open new pathways in starch modification and can be easily implemented in industry.
The project contributes to MMIP A3 Hergebruik zij- en restromen. It deals with biorefinery, technology development and valorisation within the food chain. The project aims to the valorisation of starch for the total use of potato using green technologies. The modified starch will find its application in mainly food applications as healthy food.
The continuous growth of world’s population has a strong impact on the utilisation of natural resources, generated waste, the environment and climate changes. To mitigate associated environmental issues there is a need to develop cleaner processes, resulting into less waste, reduced water consumption, reduced CO2 emissions, etc. Potato processing industry and the well-established starch sector are confronted with the need to develop and implement greener technologies, to reduce the environmental footprint of current processes, which contributes to the transition towards a new world energy and circular economy. At the same time, there is an increasing need for healthy food, as well as healthier food ingredients and products to prevent future global health crisis Non-digestible carbohydrates (dietary fibres) play an important role in gut health due to the stimulation of the bifidobacteria in the colon. Starch is one of the most abundant natural carbohydrates , it is highly digestible and a rich source of energy. Hence, starch becomes an interesting source to be converted into slow or non-digestible carbohydrates for healthy foods.
This project addresses all these questions by contributing to the development of green and efficient technologies for starch processing to obtain functional and healthier starch products for food application.