Skip to content

How to best recover amino acids for food industry

Greencovery was awarded with one of the NWO Take-off grants. With this project, we are applying our novel technology for the recovery of amino acids.

Amino acids are molecules formed by an amino group (-NH2) and a carboxylic acid group (-COOH). Attached to these functional groups, there is a substitutional group, which gives an infinite number of combinations for amino acids existence. But there are 20 special ones, the proteinogenic amino acids. These are the building blocks of proteins, which are present in all living beings (plants, animals, microorganisms).

The interest in the use of particular amino acids or combinations of them in nutrition is growing in the last years, and some amino acids cannot be synthetized by human body, so we need to include them in our diet. The fact that amino acids are present in all living beings makes them abundant in industrial food processing streams, and in many cases, in the side streams of these industries.

We demonstrated our technology to recover amino acids from these industrial side streams for the production of food ingredients and supplements. Our technology allows doing so by selectively recovering different amino acids. The initial results show that we can selectively remove amino acids by their net charge using cation or anion exchange technologies. The results are shown in the next figures:

On one hand, the anion exchange resin has a higher selectivity for acidic amino acids and lower selectivity for neutral amino acids. On the other hand, the cation exchange selectivity presents a very high selectivity for basic amino acids and almost no interaction with respect to the other amino acids.

In the second stage, we regenerated the resin and upgrade the adsorbed amino acids with our carbon dioxide expanded liquid technology. The result shows that solvent selection is a key variable for the process. The solvent selection allows an extra degree of freedom for the selective recovery of particular amino acids.  As a function of the target amino acid and stream composition, we will be able to provide our customers the solution that best suits their needs.

Any questions, please contact our process development engineer,

Paco Caparros, PDEng.

Interested in what we can do for your business?

We are here to accelerate the time-to-market of new ingredients recovered from sidestreams making your business more feasible and sustainable.