Emulsifiers help stabilize the combination of two liquids that are difficult to mix, such as oil and water. Egg yolk is often used as an emulsifier in mayonnaise to prevent oil and water from separating.
The emulsifier created at NTU also helps reduce food waste as it is produced by fermenting spent grain from brewers, a byproduct of the brewing industry. Globally, it is estimated that about 39 million tonnes of such waste grain is disposed of in landfills each year, where it decomposes and increases greenhouse gas emissions.
To produce the emulsifier, the brewer’s waste grain is fermented and then further processes for the extraction of proteins, which, after drying, are immediately suitable for the production of products such as mayonnaise.
The fat and calorie content was similar to that of regular store-bought mayonnaise, but the mayonnaise, prepared using the scientists’ technology, was higher in nutrients and antioxidants.