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Managing Editor  | May 2017

New process for extracting wheat bran could boost food packaging

A new technique for extracting wheat bran, which has long been considered the least valuable part of the wheat grain and typically becomes animal feed, helps the bran retain valuable biomolecules that could be used as antioxidants and for improving plastic food packaging, according to research by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.



A new wheat bran extraction process yields valuable biomolecules that can be used in
nutrition, medicine and even making alternatives to plastic packaging.
(Peter Ardell)

The new process uses hot, high-pressure water and carbohydrate-active enzymes to extract the wheat bran’s hemicelluloses and oligosaccharides, rather than the typical alkaline techniques that are standard across the industry. The new process allows the polysaccharides to retain their antioxidant properties instead of being washed away.


The scientists start with extracting the hemicelluloses as polymers and use the enzymes to extract the residue to increase the total yield.


Scientists are exploring the potential for this new process in creating active food packaging films and thickeners that could protect against oxidation without the need for non-organic additives.


The research was recently published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The abstract read:


“Wheat bran is a major by-product of cereal production that still has limited use for advanced nutritional and material applications. A sequential process using subcritical water, membrane filtration and selective enzymatic treatments has been designed for the combined fractionation of functional high molar mass hemicelluloses (over 105 g mol−1) and oligosaccharides from wheat bran.


“This process not only offers increased total solid yield compared with conventional protocols based on alkaline extraction, but it also preserves the inherent functionalities of the phenolic groups that substitute the carbohydrate structures of the extracted hemicelluloses.


“Feruloylated arabinoxylans (F-AX) with high molar mass and significant radical scavenging activity can be isolated from the subcritical water extract. Structurally different oligosaccharides, including mixed-linkage β-D-glucan oligosaccharides (BGOs) and arabinoxylo-oligosaccharides (AXOs) can be recovered from the eluent after membrane filtration. The crosslinked residue after subcritical water extraction was further treated with xylanolytic enzymes to release valuable feruloylated arabinoxylo-oligosaccharides (FAXOs).


“The oligo- and polysaccharide fractions isolated from this sequential process show great potential for use as prebiotic or platform chemicals, and as polymeric matrices for carbohydrate-based materials with radical scavenging properties, respectively.”


Watch the video below to learn more about this new process:

Kamweld Intro

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