OSU finds promise in pomace
Winemaking waste is turned into fiber supplement, food preservative and flowerpots
The U.S. wine industry creates a tremendous amount of waste from processing more than 4 million tons of grapes each year. Wineries typically pay to haul away the waste, which is known as pomace and consists of grape stems, skins and seeds. The pulp is rich in fiber and antioxidants and also acts as a food preservative.
Oregon State University researchers have found practical uses for it – potentially creating new revenue sources for the state's 463 wineries. Scientists added the powdery fiber to yogurt and salad dressing to extend their shelf life by a week.
They've also used pomace to make colorful, edible coatings and films that can be stretched over fruits, vegetables and other foods. The coatings contain antioxidants, seal in moisture and control the growth of some bacteria.
Additionally, researchers ground it into flour and baked muffins and brownies with it. And they've molded it into biodegradable containers, flowerpots and serving trays.
With Oregon producing 46,000 tons of wine grapes in 2012, there's a steady supply of pomace for these products.
Sources: Yanyun Zhao, a value-added food products specialist with the OSU Extension Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service; Oregon Wine Board.