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Could a biofuel by-product become a source of vegetable protein?

Signal of change / Could a biofuel by-product become a source of vegetable protein?

By Juliette Aplin / 25 Aug 2015

A Sydney-based company has inadvertently discovered a means of producing a low-cost but high-quality source of vegetable protein.

Alternative Fuel Corporation (AFC) is primarily a biofuel company. However, it has refined its ethanol biofuel production process in a way that produces a nutritious protein-rich form of yeast as a by-product.

The company are currently looking to use this high-quality yeast protein in animal feed.

This protein source is also reportedly suitable for human consumption, as a milk or egg substitute. 

Image credit: Adam Lederer / Flickr

So what?

AFC’s co-production technology offers a cost-effective means of producing vegetable-based protein supplements. However their experience to date raises questions as to why it has received so little interest as a source of human protein?

As reported by, the company found that “the food companies don’t want to be involved in ethanol, and the ethanol companies are worried about creating human foods”.

Current market conditions are making it more commercially interesting for AFC to use the yeast as an animal feed supplement, rather than a supplement for human nutrition.

Could food companies’ ‘distaste’ in using a protein source from a fuel producer be blocking innovative and integrated technologies such as AFC’s biofuel-and-yeast production process? What incentives or subsidies could encourage a change in mindset and market conditions?


NutraIngredients (August 6, 2015) Entrepreneur's frustration in marketing cheap protein for India's poor

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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