Low Cost Production of Yeast from Heat-stabilized Defatted Rice Bran

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nutraceutical Innovations, LLC
535 W. Research Center Bvd. Su
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Problem: This project will demonstrate the applicability of using rice bran and rice bran extract as a commercial scale growth medium for yeast. Currently, the production of yeast is carried out on a high sugar starting medium composed of beet or cane molasses, both of which are in short supply and command high prices. The innovative process proposed by Nutraceutical Innovations uses as a starting medium heat-stabilized defatted rice bran (HDRB), a low cost, typically underutilized co-product from the rice milling industry. Rice bran is available in large supply (1.6 billion lbs annually in the U.S. alone)(USDA, 2003), but has little commercial value in the food industry largely because of its indigestibility and unpalatability. Although the unprocessed bran byproduct has little value ?as is,? it does serve as a rich source of nutraceutical oil, and it can be processed to remove the rice bran oil. Commercially, when the oil is extracted, the rice bran undergoes a heat stabilization step to preserve the quality of the oil. The resulting by-product after oil extraction is called heatstabilized defatted rice bran (HDRB), a potentially rich source of protein, starch, fiber, vitamins and minerals with nutraceutical health benefits. The potential commercial and health benefits of HDRB, although significant, are largely unrealized because of the lack of sound scientific investigation into the applications for HDRB as a functional food ingredient. Currently, HDRB is primarily used as a filler in animal feed, and commands a sales price of only $0.03/pound. Proteins, phenolics, and bioactive molecules are bound and unavailable. Nutraceutical Innovations, Inc. recognizes both the economic and nutritional potential of HDRB, and is developing novel, value added processing methods for HDRB from which extracts can be derived, allowing for the development of new food ingredients with health benefits. The process under development has direct applicability to the yeast production industry, and if successfully commercialized, promises significant economic benefits over the current process. The proposed process utilizes the HDRB to produce co-products that will have significant value in the market, and provide health benefits to the consumer. Purpose: The overall objective of the Phase II effort is to develop and test a cost-competitive process for producing yeast and co-products using HDRB extracts as a growth medium. Successful completion of the project objectives will produce a minimum of 30-logs of growth of up to 4 strains of yeast in HDRB extracts, and at least two coproducts with viability for use as beneficial food additives. The broad vision of Nutraceutical Innovations is to develop a spectrum of commercially valuable products from HDRB using the patent pending total systems approach. The conceived commercial opportunities range from relatively low risk products and processes with ready markets (e.g. licensing the patent pending process that uses HDRB as the energy and nutrient source for the production of yeast) to potentially promising but untested product concepts (e.g. anti-cancer therapeutics from fermentation extracts).