Innovation That Matters

LyteGro speeds up fermentation by using banana waste | Photo source Fabrizio Frigeni on Unsplash

Waste bananas hasten microbe growth for industrial applications 

Food & Drink

A banana-based growth enhancer turbo-charges fermentation in food, agricultural, and pharmaceutical processes

Spotted: Bananas going to waste on the kitchen counter is an all-too-frequent occurrence. On an industrial scale, that waste is even greater, with up to 30 per cent of the annual banana crop deemed unsuitable for sale and therefore discarded. UK company LyteGro sees opportunity within those piles of unsaleable fruit. By adding water to the bananas and then mixing, heating, and filtering the mash, the company produces Baclyte, a microbial growth enhancer. 

Highly potent, the mixture enables rapid microbe growth for a huge range of industrial applications. With everything from biofuels, brewing, and distilling to dairy food and pharmaceutical production reliant on microbes, Baclyte has the potential to be a highly valuable addition to food and commercial manufacturing processes. By speeding up microbial growth, production of the final product occurs faster and yield is increased.

Key to both the use and production of the growth enhancer is its scalability and circularity. LyteGro plans to expand its volume of production by working with local communities and governments to build and locate waste banana processing plants near growers. Cutting down on transportation costs reduces emissions, and as microbreweries and distilleries continue pushing the growth in circular economies, putting local waste products to use further can further bolster their green credentials.

So much food waste still occurs that Springwise has spotted a wide range of innovations making use of leftover produce. In Spain, a student has turned ugly fruit that would otherwise have been wasted into a line of sustainable cosmetics, and an Italian startup uses orange peels to 3D print a compostable lamp.  

Written By: Keely Khoury



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