New research project:Increasing the material utilisation potential of lignin from the pulp industry as a stabilizing agent regarding proteins for the beverage industry
03 February 2022
Lignin, which is a by-product of the pulp and paper production, has so far hardly been used as a raw material, but mainly as an energy source. The research project (IGF-Project 21979 N), which started in October 2021, is intended to open up an alternative field of application for the polymer.
The research on the SME-relevant topic is carried out at the Technical University of Munich, Chair of Brewing and Beverage Technology and the Holzforschung München. The iVTH is accompanying this interesting project as a cooperating research association together with the Wissenschaftsförderung Deutsche Brauwirtschaft e.V in Berlin.
In the beverage industry (wine, fruit juice, beer), turbidity reduction of the end product through filtration and stabilization is an important step in the production process. In addition to yeasts, bacteria and glucans, it is mainly native and hydrolyzed proteins, which form polyphenol-protein complexes together with tannins derived from the raw materials. These compounds are known to be the cause of turbidity.
The compounds which cause turbidity are currently mainly precipitated with the established protein-side stabilizing agents silica gel and bentonite. Due to its properties in terms of solubility, specificity, swelling capacity and availability, the use of lignin to specifically increase the clearness and stability is, according to the research team, a promising innovative approach. The potential of lignin as a stabilizing agent is to be investigated not only in brewing, but also in the wine production and fruit juice industries.
Using lignin from the pulp production, especially the sulphate or kraft process, a resource-friendly alternative compared to the current stabilizing agents (relating to proteins) is to be developed.