Challenges regarding unpleasant odours and flavours associated with fish and whey protein powders may be in the process of being solved. Fermentation with lactic acid bacteria provides promising results.

Contact personDiana Lindberg

Phone: +47 913 00 486

Contact personMagnus Rein


Through advanced biochemical processes, fish heads, in combination with water and enzymes, have gone from being waste or animal feed, to forming the basis for new products in their own right. Researchers are also in the process of finding a solution to the challenge regarding the unpleasant odour and flavour of fish protein powder. Photo: Joe Urrutia ? Nofima

42 different types of bacteria

Diana and Lars found a master student who was very interested in the project.

?Nofima has organized things very well for me. This was just the type of task I had been dreaming of?, says Magnus Rein, Master?s student from NMBU.

?Magnus has done a great job, we have been really lucky in getting such a skilful student like him?, says Diana.

The student was assigned a large task. 42 strains of lactic acid bacteria were used in a big screening which gave growth data on several types of hydrolysates. The results show that there was a big difference in the growth rates of the different lactic acid bacteria and interestingly, bacteria were found that grew well without added sugar.

?This is particularly interesting because it enables a process where lactic acid bacteria can be added to a hydrolysate product without having to add sugar. In the final stage of the project, the flavour of fermented hydrolysates based on whey, chicken and cod was examined and compared to the hydrolysates before fermentation. The results are very promising, especially for some of the hydrolysates with the most challenging flavours?, says Diana Lindberg.

Good results ? and ten new questions

Good results often lead to more questions than those answered during the study.

?Until now, we have only scratched the surface of something that may prove to have a great influence regarding the value creation of residual raw material products. We have had some good results but at the same time gained ten new questions. Why do some bacteria work better than others? Probiotics, found in lactic acid bacteria, have properties that improve and reinforce the human immune system. Does fermentation give protein powder a probiotic effect? What if we try totally different methods of hydrolysis, or ferment over shorter periods of time? It?s extremely frustrating not being able to get started straight away?, laughs Diana Lindberg.

She is really itching to start trials on the promising results in a full-scale research project. But funding is needed. So, while they are waiting for funding, a scientific publication is now being written about the extremely interesting findings.

?It is possible that others have achieved similar results with the fermentation of residual raw material, but as far as we know, no articles have yet been published about this. We feel we found some ?really exciting results, with good reasons to continue in follow-up projects?, says Diana Lindberg.

26. April 2019 Anne-May JohansenUpdated: 2. May 2019

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This project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 745828