Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Natural fibres to decontaminate beverages

Beverages such as wine and beer contain mycotoxins and pesticides that are currently removed using filtration technologies like the Kieselghur filter aid. There is an urgent need for a viable and safe alternative to kieselguhr, as an agency of the World Health Organisation has classified kieselguhr to be carcinogenic and is expensive to dispose of.
Natural fibres to decontaminate beverages
Consumption of mycotoxins and chemical residues has been linked to congenital, kidney, liver and immune system disorders. The EU-funded DEMYBE project has successfully used natural vegetable fibres to develop sustainable filter technology that effectively reduces mycotoxin and pesticide levels in beverages.

The DEMYBE consortium worked on improving toxin removal capacity and ease of application while ensuring there are no adverse sensory impacts. The adsorption capacity of selected fibres was further enhanced using physical and chemical fractionation techniques without significantly affecting taste and aroma in the filtered liquid. A radioactive assay was developed that is cheaper and faster than high-performance liquid chromatographic analysis to assess the binding capacity of vegetable fibres.

In particular, the micronised wheat envelopes had high adsorption capacity and were suitable for use in existing industrial systems. Taste trials and prototype testing at the laboratory and pilot scales for beer and wine filtration applications demonstrated superior performance in comparison to Kieselguhr filter aids.

A remarkable 95 % decontamination was achieved with extraction of mycotoxins such as ochratoxin A (OTA) and pesticide residues. The fibre prototype-filtered beer had reduced levels of yeast and contaminants with lower turbidity. Similarly, wine filtration with this prototype showed over 90 % reduction in mycotoxin and pesticide levels except for Iprovalicarb. Thus, DEMYBE partners successfully demonstrated proof-of-concept of this filter aid prototype technology for application in the beer and wine industry. Project outcomes were disseminated widely to the wine and beer industries.

Work is ongoing to develop the final prototype configuration and obtain requisite approvals for industry-specific applications such as beer and wine production. The DEMYBE consortium has therefore submitted a demonstration project, ADFIMAX, to enable product validation and subsequent commercialisation. The expected reduction in kieselguhr imports would reduce production costs and increase profitability. DEMYBE filter aid products could also be exported to other countries for myriad applications in the beverage industry.

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