ENGINZYME AND TETRA PAK PARTNER ON NEW SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRODUCTION PROCESS
EnginZyme, a developer of cell-free bio-manufacturing processes, has joined forces with global food processing and packaging solutions company Tetra Pak to leverage each entity’s respective strengths to find new ways to improve food and beverage production. One of the benefits, they claim, will be to turn food waste into valuable ingredients.
The two Swedish companies will develop “cutting edge” processes using enzymes that have the potential to replace or improve upon energy-intensive chemical catalysts in current food production. Enzymes can be unstable and unpredictable making them difficult to control, but with EnginZyme’s patented, cell-free bio-manufacturing platform, enzymes can be transformed into a solid heterogeneous material, making them easier to handle.
As a first project, Tetra Pak and EnginZyme are exploring transforming acid whey, a by-product from the manufacture of dairy foods like greek yoghurt or cream cheese, into ingredients that can go into healthy food products and thus generate revenue. Currently, acid whey must be disposed of carefully because it can damage ecosystems if too much of it goes into waterways.
A revolution for food processing?
“This collaboration really puts our two companies’ strengths into play,” said Karim Engelmark Cassimjee, CEO and co-founder of EnginZyme in 2014. “By combining Tetra Pak’s broad food processing expertise with our bio-manufacturing innovation, we are working to solve huge challenges while creating the food products of the future. We’re creating a modern process environment that is low-energy, low-waste and truly sustainable.”
Tetra Pak is working to integrate EnginZyme’s biotechnology directly into product or waste-stream lines, meaning the solution could be easily scaled. “Controlling and adapting enzymes to suit our manufacturing processes has great potential for many of our food applications,” said Lidia Garcia Pou, head of project management and external innovation at Tetra Pak. “Together we can maximise our use of raw ingredients, reduce industrial waste, and improve efficiencies, which we believe will be revolutionary for the food processing industry.”
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. This gives manufacturers better control of the production process. In addition, the technology can be used with many enzyme types, making it a versatile, transferable solution for the food industry.