Food Scientist Produces Nutrition-Adding Stealth Ingredient

Updated: 11/02/2012 8:00 AM KSTP.com By: Tim Sherno

South Dakota State University Food Scientist Padu Krishnan has been working for years to add nutrition and dietary fiber to every day foods.  Krishnan has developed a process that turns coarse golden by-product of ethanol production also known as distillers' dried grain (DDG) into a food grade ingredient.

Most DDG is used as animal feed, but Krishnan sees a different use, "How many times do you walk by a pile that is 36 percent protein and 40 percent fiber, both of which somebody on this planet needs?"

Ethanol can be made from corn; the production process removes sugar, which is later fermented.  With sugar removed, the byproduct is DDG.  Because of its high protein, most DDG is used as animal feed.

Krishnan's process purifies the DDG, changing it from a hard grain into white powder not unlike flour.  According to Krishnan, the end result is a high protein high fiber ingredient that could be used to supplement foods, "I'm trying to make the DDG that's food grade as flavor neutral, taste neutral, color neutral, and aroma neutral. So it can work with many many applications."

Krishnan says the protein and fiber in processed food grade DDG can be used as an additive to a wide variety of foods, "It's got too much of a yeast odor to it, so we have to remove that. And it has too much of a color to it, so we have to remove that." Food grade DDG is a white powder, not unlike flour.

Krishnan says DDG is a missed opportunity to improve the nutrition in foods that are eaten every day, "It is not rocket-science. It's simple; 36 percent protein and 40 percent dietary fiber, yet we look for fiber and protein in so many other sources and we walk right by this (DDG). What do we have to do to discover it again."

According to Krishnan, adding DDG should to food should not increase the price. He says currently the raw material is very cost effective.