Scientists Turn Tofu Waste into More Vegan Food

Researchers in Singapore repurpose okara—a byproduct of tofu and soy milk production—into a nutrient-packed food ingredient.

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A team of researchers at the National University of Singapore recently developed a method to repurpose okara—a byproduct of tofu and soy production—into a nutritious plant-based food ingredient. Approximately 10,000 tons of okara are discarded annually in Singapore, as the product has an unpleasant odor, spoils easily, and does not taste good. To transform okara into a palatable food, researchers employed a “biofermentation” process in which the waste was treated with enzymes (similar to those used to create tempeh), steamed, cooled, and allowed to ferment. “This process is straightforward, natural, and does not produce waste streams,” lead researcher Liu Shao Quan told media outlet Foodnavigator. “The biotransformed okara is nutritious, plant-based, and has the potential to be used in a variety of food products.” The transformed okara is high in fiber and lends itself well to be used in plant-based foods such as meat replacers and baked goods.