OSU Turns Winemaking Waste into Food Supplements and Flowerpots

[Muffins made from flour containing ground pomace. Photo credit: Lynn Ketchum]

Story: Daniel Robison | Photo credit: Lynn Ketchum | College of Agricultural Services - Oregon Invests!

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered how to turn the pulp from crushed wine grapes into a natural food preservative, biodegradable packaging materials and a nutritional enhancement for baked goods.

The United States wine industry creates a tremendous amount of waste from processing more than 4 million tons of grapes each year, mostly in the Pacific Northwest and California, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wineries typically pay for the pulp to be hauled away, but a small percentage is used in low-value products such as fertilizer and cow feed.

"We now know pomace can be a sustainable source of material for a wide range of goods," said researcher Yanyun Zhao, a professor and value-added food products specialist with the OSU Extension Service. "We foresee wineries selling their pomace rather than paying others to dispose of it. One industry's trash can become another industry's treasure."

The pulp, which consists of stems, skins and seeds, is known as pomace and is packed with dietary fiber and phenolics, which have antioxidant effects. OSU researchers have dried and ground it to create edible and non-edible products.

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