Project set to add value to wheat bran by using it in cosmetics

The HGCA is investing £250,000 to develop market opportunities within the global chemical market for existing arable by-products, such as wheat bran.

The University of Reading and Rothamsted Research have been awarded £235,000 to develop a process for the production of ferulic acid, a by-product of wheat bran.

“Wheat bran has great protential as a source of ferulic acid, which can be used both as a food flavouring and as an active agent in cosmetic products such as anti-aging face creams,” says Dimitris Charalampopoulos from the University of Reading, who is leading the research.

About 1m tonnes a year of wheat bran is produced in the UK with the potential of producing up to 5,000t of ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is mainly produced commercially from the residues generated during the production of rice bran oil.

A further £15,000 has also been awarded to the bioenergy consultant NFCC to conduct a three month feasability study to investigate the possibility of creating a polylactic acid (PLA) plant in the UK.

PLA has gained a foothold in the global plastics supply chain in recent years and is used in many applications from compostable packaging to durable automotive plastics.

Harley Stoddart, research and knowledge transfer manager for the HGCA adds: “By increasing the options for products that have lower value in the food and feed markets, the HGCA hopes that the associated values will increase, bringing benefits to both the grower and the processor.”

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