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Z Trim Holdings unveils BioFiber Gum for supplement encapsulation, food additive applications

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By Hank Schultz


Z Trim Holdings derives high value ingredients from corn bran and other cellulosic feedstocks.
Z Trim Holdings derives high value ingredients from corn bran and other cellulosic feedstocks.

Z Trim Holdings, an Illinois-based producer of functional ingredients derived from corn fiber and other grain byproducts, has launched its BioFiber Gum (BFG) for food, supplement and industrial applications. BFG is said to have both a suite of attractive functional properties and health claims of its own.

Z Trim Holdings, or ZTH, has made its living looking for functional ingredients in areas of grain processing passed over by others. It has developed a proprietary technology to derive high value ingredients from bran fractions that previously were thought of as mere crude fiber sources or were diverted to lower-value applications such as feed. Much of this technology was developed in concert with the United States Department of Agriculture, said Kyle Hannah, ZTH’s vice president of technology.

Z Trim ingredient

The flagship ingredient Z Trim, dervied from corn bran, is the prime example of this technology. Z Trim is the specially processed insoluable fraction of corn bran that can be used in a vareity of food applications including meats.  Z Trim has benefits during the manufacturing cycle, including exhibiting high shear resistance.  And on the shelf it helps retain water better than competing applications, improves shelf life and can function as a fat replacer, improving mouthfeel while adding dietary fiber.

But the manufacture of Z Trim left a side stream of its own, a soluable fraction. Until very recently it was not possible to commercialize this fraction because of economic challenges, but with further development, ZTH has now cleared that hurdle, Hannah said.

“We have succeeded at developing patentable processes and compositions of matter for novel soluble fibers from all biomass and we are now producing food grade emulsifiers and microencapsulators.  Our gums are rich in arabinoxylans and oligosaccharides, something both the health ingredients and nutraceuticals industries are keen on,” Hannah told NutraIngredients-USA.

Microencapsulator, emulsifier, health ingredient

BioFiber Gum (BFG) ingredient

BFG has a variety of uses.  It can be employed as a microencapsulation system for dietary supplement ingredients such as probiotics or omega-3s, Hannah said.  And it can be sued to substitute for other gums, such as carrageenan or xanthan gums.  But while it is performing those functions, it can also be added at levels to make a viable fiber claim without adversely affecting mouthfeel, Hannah said.  So it could kill two birds with one stone, acting as a gum and taking the place of a prebiotic add-on such as inulin. 

“It could work especially well in beverages that claim protein delivery. Most of them do not carry any fiber, and those that do include inulin that can cause bloating,” Hannah said.

 BFG also features arabinoxylans and oligosaccharides, molecules which have been studed for their gut health benefits and other potential health attributes .  In addition, Hannah said a protocol has been submitted for a new study that will look at the ability of these molecules to decrease the intestinal generation of toxins associated with kidney disease such as indoxyl sulfate and p-cresyl sulfate in healthy individuals.

Sustainability story

Another aspect of the development of BFG focuses on sustainability, Hannah said. In addition to supplying ingredients, ZTH also licenses its technology.

“For more than 60 years, nobody could commercialize this gum,” Hannah said. “There are a lot of companies out there producing a lot of cellulosic waste. In some cases it has just been discarded. 

“It would be of interest to anybody producing these masses. We are already working with select companies via material transfer agreements,” Hannah said.

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