on April 22nd, 2016

Biomedical engineers in Singapore are using what would usually be discarded to facilitate a renewable source of minimizing the amount of food waste that occurs. According to StraitTimes, 66139lbs of soya bean residue gets sent to the dump every year. 

So, the biomedical engineers at Nanyang Technical University (NTU) went to work and used residue from soya milk and tofu production and utilized it to grow yeast. The team is confident it will minimize costs on the cultivating of yeast in Singapore. 

Professor William Chen who works in the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at NTU, and lead the research, said: “Our data shows that the culture medium we developed grows baker’s yeast as fast as commercial media. So the impact is potentially wide-ranging.” 

An assistant of the project, Dr. Jaslyn Lee, said they take the residue (or as they call it ‘okara’) and add it to “food-grade” microorganism. An enzyme is produced and a breakdown of the residue occurs into a “wool-like product.” 

The process reportedly takes five days. 

The engineers say a liter will cost $3 whereas yeast produced from crop plants such as potato and wheat cost $11-$36.

Ms. Loong Mann Na, director of the Food Innovation and Resource Center at Singapore Polytechnic, said: “The method of production is deemed to be cleaner, more efficient and natural.” 

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