We’ve all known about Bran for a long, long time. Whether we eat it for pleasure or fibre, or feed it farm animals, we figure we’ve got it pegged. But new studies reveal that this common Wheat milling byproduct may have more, and more important uses in the future that we never dreamed of…
Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm say they’ve developed a new process to break down and extract components of Bran that could be used in making anti-oxidants, prebiotics and even plastics for packaging.
For years and years, Bran has been thought of as an end-product. it’s merely the sheath of the Wheat kernel and, until now, has been considered the least-valuable byproduct of the grain milling process. We eat it in Muffins and Cereals for flavour and fibre and feed it to livestock. But that’s about it.
Now, it appears Bran may represent a sustainable source of many valuable compounds. And the extraction process developed by the Swedes may also work on Bran from other grains.
Under the KTK process, useful substances are extracted from Bran in a series of steps that preserve their beneficial properties. The extraction process uses only hot, high pressure water and carbohydrate-active enzymes to harvest wheat bran’s hemicelluloses and oligosaccharides. This process allows these polysaccharides to retain their antioxidant properties – which are stripped away through ordinary alkaline extraction techniques.
Given the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the process, the KTK process could become the backbone of a whole new big business Agribusiness that stands to benefit us all.
~ Maggie J.