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New enzyme by Novozymes to bring starch processors low-pH liquefaction

Our Bureau, Bengaluru
Thursday, March 06, 2014 08:00 IST

Novozymes unveiled its new alpha-amylase enzyme solution that would lower pH during liquefaction. The product, called Novozymes LpHera, would help starch processors save upto $1 per metric tonne of substrate by increasing yield and reducing energy, water and chemical use. The solution is designed to break down starch in a way that creates more dextrose vis-a-vis conventional alpha-amylases.

The new starch breakdown technology is seen to be industry’s lowest total cost of conversion. Running at pH 5.5, the enzymes used for conventional starch liquefaction require the addition of chemicals to raise pH levels before liquefaction. Chemicals are added again at the end of the process to ensure the lower pH necessary for the next step in starch processing, saccharification.

Liquefaction with Novozymes LpHera would increase dextrose yields by 0.2 percentage points. As starch customers process large amounts of starch every day, such an increase could be significant. The technology would be beneficial to sweeteners and fermented products.

“LpHera would brings the liquefaction pH level as low as 4.5-4.8. This means you could reduce your pH chemical usage in some cases by over 50 per cent,” stated Thomas Nilsson, global launch manager for food, Novozymes. He added that it would also prolong the ion exchange service cycle, which would, in turn, enable more savings on chemicals, water and wastewater.

“We see LpHera as bringing value beyond liquefaction,” said Nilsson, adding that producers of high-fructose syrup would benefit from more efficient evaporation and water and energy savings. In crystalline dextrose production, it would ensure a higher crystallisation yield, and when producing fermented products, it achieves a higher yield and better by-products with lower salt levels.

“Starch plants vary in size and can process from 0.2 to over 1 million tonne substrate per year,” he said. “So if a plant processes 0.5 million tonne substrate, the yield and the energy, water and chemical savings associated with LpHera, would mean that such a plant can save up to $0.5 million per year compared to today’s technology,” he added.

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