As the old adage goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.
Such may be the case with the waste left from pressing grapes to make wine, according to a news release.
Researchers at Oregon State University have found a way to turn pomace, as the waste material is called, into a natural food preservative, biodegradable packaging materials and a nutritional enhancement for baked goods.
All of these uses will presumable carry a higher value the the former uses, such as fertilizer, cow feed, or more typical—being hauled to the landfill.
The pomace, which consists of stems, skins and seeds, is packed with dietary fiber and phenolics—plant-based chemicals that may have several health attributes.
Yanhun Zhao, a professor and value-added food products specialist, led the studies that looked at alternative uses.
When ground and dried, pomace can create edible and non-edible products.
For example, they extracted dietary fiber and turned it into powders that can be added to foods.
The phenolics in pomace help control microbial growth and keep fats from deteriorating, extending product shelf life without changing the taste or texture.
Pomace also can be formed into a colorful, edible coating or film to cover fruits, vegetables and other food products.
In addition, it can be formed into biodegradable containers, such as for serving trays and flowerpots, that deteriorate in the soil after about 30 days.
The university is currently seeking partners to develop pomace-based products commercially.