The marketing of wastes from fermentation processes has been established for at least 200 years. By the 1700s, brewers' grains, spent hops and surplus yeast from larger breweries were accumulating in sufficient quantities for specialized trades to develop (Mathias, 1959). Around London, cattle and pigs were fattened on 'wash' and brewers' grains. Excess yeast was supplied to bakers and gin distillers.

In any fermentation recovery process there is a need to recognize whether there is a potential marketable waste and, if necessary, to develop a market. Obviously the marketability and cost of reclamation of by-products will be very important in deciding upon a policy of waste recovery. Under favourable market conditions it has been claimed that the profit on animal feed byproducts from a completely integrated distillery may almost pay the cost of the grain (Blaine, 1965). This claim would now be more difficult to substantiate, due to fuel costs and capital outlay on plant (Quinn and Marchant, 1980; Sheenan and Greenfield, 1980).

Some microbial processes yield residues which are difficult or impossible to sell (Blaine, 1965). In these processes it may be possible, and worth while, to change to low residue raw materials such as refined sugars or other pure compounds as sources of soluble nutrients.


In grain-based distilleries it has been common practice to recover spent grain and stillage, the waste liquor after the alcohol has been distilled off (Boruff, 1953; Blaine, 1965). The stillage is first passed through screens with 1-mm openings. The screenings are then dewa-tered with mechanical filter presses and dried in rotary driers (Chapter 10). This product is termed Distillers' Dried Grains (light grains). The screened stillage is concentrated in evaporators to give 25 to 35% solids in a thick syrup. Stillages which have been prefiltered may be concentrated to 35 to 50% solids. This syrup can then be mixed with the pressed screenings and dried to give Distillers' Dried Grains with Solubles (dark grains). Alternatively the evaporated stillage may be dried completely in drum driers to produce Distillers' Dried Solubles. Dark and light grains and dried solubles have all been used as animal-feed supplements. Flachowsky et al. (1990) report their use following chemical treatment as a replacement feed for sheep. Dried solubles have also been used as a medium adjunct in the preparation of antibiotics (Chapter 4).

In distilleries using cane molasses as a feedstock, evaporated spent wash has been used as a fuel for boilers (Sheenan and Greenfield, 1980). It has proved worth while to recover potassium salts from sugar-beet stillage. The market for the evaporated product must be considered within a range of 50 km of the evaporation plant (Lewicki, 1978).

Boruff (1953) cited an unpublished 1949 survey of American distilleries which showed that 85% of the stillage solids were being recovered as dried feeds, 14% solids as wet grains and only 1% was waste. In recent years the traditional distillers' by-products from stillage have become increasingly uneconomic. A number of processes to produce SCP from stillage using Ccotrichum candidum, Candida utilis or C. tropicalis have been evaluated (Quinn and Marchant, 1980; Sheenan and Greenfield, 1980).


The three marketable wastes from breweries are spent grain, spent hops and yeast. The spent grain is recovered from the mash tun and is then sold as animal feed either after pressing in a wet state or after drying in rotary driers. Alternatively, the wet grain may be used in the preparation of silage for cattle. The possible markets for hops are restricted. Some are used as a fertilizer or as a low-grade fuel.

Yeast can be separated from beer by filtration or centrifuging. The yeast slurry is then dried in drum driers. Some of the yeast may be mixed with brewers' spent grains to produce a feed material with a slightly higher protein content than normal brewers' grains. The yeast may also be used directly as a source of vitamins. If it is to be used as a human food it must be debittered to remove the hop bitter substances absorbed on to the yeast cells. The cells are then washed in an alkaline solution, washed with water and drum dried. Although bakers' yeast was originally obtained as a brewery by-product, this market has diminished considerably. Most bakers' yeast is now produced directly by a distinct production process. Dewatered sludge from brewery wastewater treatment operations has been reported to increase agricultural yields when used as fertilizer (Naylor and Severson, 1984). Lyons (1983) reports on the potential use of brewery effluents as a feedstock for fuel and industrial ethanol production.

Amino acid wastes

The main wastes from glutamic acid or lysine fermentations are cells, a liquor with a high amino-acid content which can be used as an animal-feed supplement, and the salts removed from the liquor by crystallization, which is a good fertilizer (Renaud, 1980).

Fuel alcohol wastes

The stillage from ethanol production and wastes from starchy fermentations are, following concentration, saleable as an animal-feed supplement. Wastes from sugar fermentations and distillation can be digested anaerobically and the methane generated used as an energy source (Essien and Pyle, 1983; Faust et al., 1983; Singh et al, 1983). Faust et al. (1983) also suggest the use of COz rich off gases in the food and beverage industries.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Vinegar For Your Health

Vinegar For Your Health

A resource for the many ways you can use Vinegar to improve your health! In today's society of miracle medicine, we often overlook things that have been around hundreds of years! Things like Vinegar!

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment