Lactic acid bacteria is being used to create a fat-free dairy alternative
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Spotted: It is estimated that dairy animals produce approximately 3.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions every year. Most significantly, between 51 and 67 per cent of this pollution is enteric methane, which traps 84 times more heat than CO2. One way the volume of carbon emissions associated with cattle can be reduced is to find non-dairy alternatives for the world’s most popular dairy products. Fittingly, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have created a proof-of-concept replacement for whipped cream and their new version made from lactic acid bacteria is not only completely dairy-free, but also fat-free.
Lactic acid bacteria are common in the natural world and occur naturally in humans. As opposed to dairy creams, which rely on carbon-heavy processes from start to finish, the bacteria acts as a renewable resource which can be grown in a tank. Using only four ingredients – a thickener, water, the bacteria, and a milk protein – the Copenhagen-based team replicated two textures: a softer, fluffy cream, and a stiffer option better suited for icing. And unlike normal whipped cream, which is 38 per cent saturated fat, the bacteria-based cream has none.
Non-dairy whipped creams that are currently on the market rely on other forms of fat to achieve the correct consistency, as well as an extensive list of chemicals. Jens Risbo, lead author of the study, claims they could now use food waste such as brewing yeast or “small building blocks” extracted from plants to create other foodstuffs, a change that could be significant in encouraging circularity in food production processes. The research team plans to continue experimenting with developing dairy-free versions of popular products.
The dairy-alternative industry is growing. Springwise has spotted a number of innovators working to create more sustainable dairy or dairy-alternative products, including plant-based dairy proteins and lab-grown dairy products which don’t require cows.
Written By: Keely Khoury